The Procedure and Care of Implant Crowns
If you are missing one or more teeth, your dentist might suggest implant crowns. Dental implants are a two-step procedure that effectively replaces your missing tooth with a replacement tooth. Because the implant crown is placed on an implant rod or “root”, dental implants mimic the biological function of a tooth as well as the aesthetic. The implant root will be surgically inserted into your jawbone, usually by a cosmetic dentist who specializes in smile restorations. The implant can either be secured using permanent cement or is screwed into the bone directly. After this, there’s typically a month or two the cosmetic dentist will have you wait before they fit you for an implant crown. This is so the jaw bone has time to fuse with the implant, allowing the implant to act as a stable root for the implant crown. The crown will be colored to match the rest of your teeth, so it looks like a natural tooth after it is attached to the implant.
The beauty of implant crowns over dentures is they act like your regular teeth. You don’t have to remove them at night. The only cleaning you do is regular brushing and flossing. They’re permanent. For all practical purposes, they act like your regular teeth. Many people can’t even tell.
The procedure does require enough bone in the jaw that is strong enough to hold the implant. If there isn’t enough bone, more can be added through a bone graft. This makes the process longer, as you need to wait for the bone to reinforce itself after the graft before you can get the implant put in, wait for that to heal, and then finally attach the implant crown. In some cases, if a single rooted tooth matches the size of the implant, the implant can be inserted immediately, a process known as “immediate implant placement.” The temporary crown is then attached to the implant.
Signs You Might Need a Tooth Extraction and an Implant
A tooth extraction is usually needed when decay has become irreparable or a root canal has gone bad. The best way to proceed after a tooth extraction is to install an implant as soon as possible, before the bone starts to change at the site the tooth was extracted. The first indication of a problem with your tooth is unprovoked toothache or sensitivity. Your gum tissue may become swollen around the area and bleed. You might even notice a dark or receding spot on the affected tooth. Often, if the infection has reached the root, or the decay has gone below the gum line, a cosmetic dentist will recommend you get the tooth extracted and then replaced with an implant and crown.
Do You Smoke? Implants May Not be for You
We generally don’t recommend implant crowns for smokers, especially heavy smokers. Smoking restricts blood flow, so it’s harder for your mouth to heal from the implants. In some of our Cincinnati dental patients who smoke, it doesn’t heal at all. Let us know up front if you smoke and how much. And be honest. We can recommend an alternative procedure, but it’s best to know ahead of time.
Properly Caring for Dental Implant Crowns once You’re Healed
Implants do require regular dental care, including brushing, flossing, and periodic cleanings. You will receive detailed instructions when it comes to the care of your new teeth. The process is very similar to how you care for the rest of your teeth.
When it comes to flossing dental implants, we recommend you use unwaxed tape or implant-specific floss. This will better protect the tissue around the implant. Nylon coated interdental brushes/ proxabrushes are good for getting in between the implant thoroughly. Try dipping them in non-alcohol antimicrobial rinse or gel.
At the end of the day, once your implant is fully healed and you’ve gotten used to it, you’ll likely never notice the implant crown again. Many of our patients find themselves forgetting which tooth is in fact an implant crown. Take care of them like your regular teeth (because they are now) and those things will last a lifetime.
Beckham Square Family Dental: Gentle Dentistry for the Entire Family!
If you need a cosmetic or family dentist near you and live in the Cincinnati area, give us a call or fill out our online contact form. We are currently accepting new patients. The combined practices of Dr. Schmerler and Dr. Malavich, we provide gentle dental care for the entire family. We know how to make young children feel comfortable and at ease. We even know how to make adults feel relaxed. We understand that some have had unpleasant experiences and may feel some level of dental anxiety. That’s why we do everything we can to make you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
We’re a local family dental practice that believes in treating our patients like family. Dental care is just that- caring. Let us help your entire family have a beautiful smile!