Having dental implants done is a major decision for Brunswick County patients. While they provide long-lasting durability and improve functionality, they can cost more than other tooth replacement solutions. Dr. Austin of Austin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery wants each and every patient to feel comfortable with their decision to get dental implants, which is why he has compiled the following list of frequently asked questions and their answers. By browsing this information, Brunswick County patients can get a better idea if dental implants are the correct option for them.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are small titanium screws that are inserted into the jawbone to act as an anchor for replacement teeth. They essentially function as a replacement tooth root, offering the same stability and support as this natural structure. Over time, the titanium screw will bond with the jaw, much like a natural tooth root. After the dental implant has been absorbed by the jaw, then a small post called an abutment can be attached to the implants. It is this post to which replacement teeth are attached.

In addition to providing superior cosmetic appearance and functionality of the mouth, dental implants last longer than other teeth replacement solutions and preserve facial structure.

Who Qualifies for Dental Implants?

While many patients in the Brunswick County area qualify for dental implants, there are a few for which another method of tooth restoration might be the better option. For example, patients should have overall good oral health, including healthy gums. Additionally, patients who smoke a lot or have diabetes or heart disease will need to work with Dr. Austin one-on-one to determine if this treatment plan is right for them.

Another important consideration is whether or not the patient has enough bone in the jaw to hold the implant. If the patient has been missing teeth for some time, their jawbone might have deteriorated, meaning there isn’t enough density to support an implant.

Luckily, for patients in this scenario, bone grafting can be used to rebuild the jaw to make it suitable for dental implants. Patients will discuss this possibility at their initial consultation, where they’ll also undergo a radiographic exam to better plan out the fine details of the procedure.

What Kinds of Dental Implants Does Dr. Austin Offer Brunswick County Patients?

There are three main types of dental implants Dr. Austin offers his Brunswick County patients. These include:

  • Astra Tech Dentsply. An easy-to-use implant system that has a small number of components, meaning it can be used anywhere in the mouth.
  • Nobel Biocare. A wide range of implant systems for patients with compromised bone situations, a need for better aesthetics, and treatment flexibility.
  • BioHorizons. A comprehensive line of dental implants that cover a wide range of applications and come with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Each of these brands is highly recognized and respected in the field of oral surgery, meaning that patients can feel safe and comfortable with whatever implant Dr. Austin decides on.

What Is the Dental Implant Procedure Like?

Before the dental implant procedure begins, Dr. Austin will either use local anesthesia or IV sedation to calm the patient and ensure they don’t experience any pain or discomfort. He may also provide the patient with antibiotics before the surgery to prevent infection.

Once everything is ready, Dr. Austin will begin by making an incision in the gums where the tooth is missing. He will then fold back the gums to reach the bone underneath. To prepare the bone for the insertion of the implant screw, he will use drill bits to make a small hole — similar to the way a carpenter might prep wood before inserting a screw. Finally, the implant will be screwed into the jaw. Dr. Austin will then fold the gums back into place and use sutures to close everything up.

What Is the Recovery Like After Dental Implants?

Because the mouth needs time to heal and the implant needs time to integrate into the jaw, the overall recovery process for dental implants can last anywhere from four to six months. However, that doesn’t mean Brunswick County patients will be out of action for that long. Rather, they’ll start feeling better in a couple of days. They may have some soreness at the implant site, but this can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication and ice therapy. Overall, they’ll experience minimal downtime and can get back to their normal routine relatively quickly.

Once the implant has been secured in place by the growth of bone, the next phase of treatment can begin. Patients will need to schedule a short procedure in which Dr. Austin uncovers the dental implants and attaches the small abutment posts to the implants. At this point, he can then attach the replacement teeth to these posts, giving patients the improved smile, ability to eat, and ability to speak they desired.

What Kinds of Prosthesis Can Patients Choose From?

Brunswick County patients have a few different options for prosthesis depending on their needs. Dr. Austin and his implant coordinator will work with the patient to determine which of the following might be best:

  • Single prosthesis (crown). Ideal for patients missing one tooth or several non-adjacent teeth. Each tooth will attach to a single implant.
  • Partial prosthesis (fixed bridge). Ideal for patients missing two or more teeth in a row. Because the teeth are connected, they may only need two or three implants for support.
  • Complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge). For patients missing an entire arch of teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Patients may be able to accomplish this with as little as four implants.

Improve Your Smile With Dental Implants

If you live in Brunswick County and are missing teeth, dental implants can be the best way to improve your smile and enable you to eat a healthy diet once more.

Contact us to schedule your one-on-one consult today with Dr. Austin to see if you’re a candidate for dental implants by calling us at (910) 769-1605.