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Tooth loss is a condition that impacts millions of Americans. There are a number of reasons why you might lose your adult teeth, whether due to a traumatic accident or simple dental neglect. Regardless, when you either lose your teeth or need to have them extracted, it is crucial to understand your options for tooth replacement. Dental implants offer one of the most comfortable, convenient, and long-lasting ways to once again enjoy a healthy smile.

OMSNashville has decades of experience providing dental implants to patients throughout Middle Tennessee. We invite you to learn more about your options for dental implants in Nashville, TN.

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What Are Dental Implants?

When comparing natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you will see that they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part) used to chew and a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These titanium implants act as the tooth root substitutes. As the area heals, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums allowing the bone to integrate with the titanium creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. After the implant has integrated into the jawbone, your oral surgeon will uncover the implants and place small support posts (abutments) that protrude through the gums on the implants to provide stable anchors for the artificial replacement teeth (crowns). When the crows are placed, the abutments will not be seen. In many cases, a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed.

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Tooth loss is a common occurrence, one that millions of Americans have to contend with. One of the best options for replacing lost teeth is dental implants, which provide a steady, secure way to restore your smile. OMS Nashville has decades of experience providing implants; for oral healthcare you can depend on, reach out to our practice today.

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The Benefits of Getting Dental Implants

Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your life. When you lose several teeth – whether it is a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself. Not only does it affect the way you look, but it can also lead to other physical problems that may affect your health and prevent you from smiling with confidence.

Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind. They will improve the look of your smile and your ability to chew and function properly. There are many benefits to replacing missing teeth with dental implants; primarily, they improve the following:

  • Function, feel, and look like natural teeth
  • Preserve facial structure by preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing
  • Maintain the integrity of bone structure after tooth loss
  • Preserve the health of adjacent teeth, unlike bridges
  • Provide a permanent replacement for dentures that will not slip or irritate the gums
  • Require no special care, no food restrictions, and last a lifetime

How We Diagnose and Determine Candidates for Dental Implant Surgery

If you have lost teeth or are facing the need to have teeth extracted, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. The best way to determine for sure is to join us at one of our convenient OMSNashville locations, where one of our surgeons will help to evaluate your candidacy for implants. Generally, the best candidates for dental implants meet the following criteria:

  • In good overall oral health. The best candidates for implants will not have untreated periodontal disease or other underlying conditions.
  • Sufficient underlying bone structure. It is also important to have sufficient jawbone in which the implant can be placed.
  • Missing or removed teeth. Candidates for dental implants will typically be missing at least one tooth and often multiple teeth.

If you have moderate to significant bone loss, you may benefit from having additional bone grafting done to ensure adequate support for your dental implant.

About Our Practice

The surgeons at OMSNashville boast decades of combined experience and a long track record of impressive results. We take pride in our technical know-how and our ample hands-on experience; we are specialists in our field and perform dental implant procedures regularly. Additionally, we offer convenient, accessible care through our multiple locations. We would love to tell you more about OMSNashville and our commitment to patient care. Take a moment to learn more about our dedicated, compassionate team.

What Types of Prostheses are Used with Dental Implants?

A dental implant is essentially an artificial root that is screwed into your jawbone. Different types of prostheses, or artificial teeth, may be affixed to the implant. Some of the most common examples include:

A Crown

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant.

Fixed Dental Bridge

A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants.

Complete Dental Prosthesis

A complete dental prosthesis replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or cylindrical attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis (fixed hybrid denture) is permanent and removable only by the dentist.

Anterior and Posterior Implants

Depending on the position of your missing teeth, your oral surgeon may recommend either anterior or posterior implants.

Anterior (Front) Implants

When replacing a missing front tooth, it is important that the teeth and gums are in perfect harmony. Careful attention is paid to the shape and appearance of the gum tissue that surrounds the implant. The health of the gum tissue is important to the overall healing process but also has a strong impact on the final appearance of your smile. To allow the implant and surrounding bone to become fully integrated, you may be fitted with a temporary crown or removable flipper during the healing period (approximately 2-3 months). Once a secure foundation has been established, the custom-designed dental crown will be placed.

Posterior (Rear) Implants

Your back teeth not only incur large amounts of pressure and force during meals but also serve as the framework that gives your face its natural contours. It is equally important that these teeth look and function like your front teeth. We will select an implant that is sturdy enough to provide you with long-term biting and chewing efficiency. Replacing your back teeth with durable and attractive dental implants can provide you with the comfort and function that you once enjoyed with your natural teeth.

Experienced Oral Surgeons Serving Nashville, TN

At OMS Nashville, our oral surgeons boast more than 75 years of combined experience. We have ample expertise treating patients through dental implants, wisdom teeth removal, tooth extraction, corrective jaw surgery, bone grafting, and more. And, we are committed to promoting patient safety and ensuring patient comfort throughout each procedure. Make an appointment today at one of our convenient Nashville locations.

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What are the Costs Involved with Dental Implants?

The cost of getting dental implants can vary based on a number of factors. Some of the variables that may impact total cost include the number of implants necessary and the specific type of prosthesis chosen. Additionally, some patients may require underlying periodontal diseases to be treated before they receive their implants, which can further increase the cost. Note that OMSNashville offers flexible financing options, with the goal of making high-quality dental care as accessible as possible.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Implants?

In some cases, dental insurance will cover the cost of implants, at least partially. At OMSNashville, our team is here to assist you in maximizing your insurance reimbursement. Additionally, we are pleased to answer any questions you may have about financing.

The Dental Implant Process

The prospect of getting dental implants may feel slightly intimidating. There is no need to be worried. Instead, simply take a moment to fully understand what the process entails.

How Long are the Procedures and How Many Sessions Can Be Expected?

Typically, getting dental implants requires multiple appointments with your oral surgeon. In total, the entire process may take several months, from the initial consultation through the final application of dental prostheses. Placement of a dental implant can typically be done in less than an hour, but this may vary based on how many implants are being placed.

Initial Consultation, Scan, and Custom Treatment Planning

The first appointment will be a basic consultation. By conducting a thorough physical evaluation, your surgeon will ensure that you are a good candidate for implants and will also advise on questions like how many implants you need, where you need them, and which type of prosthesis is best. X-rays and other scans may be used to identify any other oral health problems that require resolution.

The Surgical Placement of the Implant

When your actual dental implant surgery takes place, the surgeon will make an incision in your gum, exposing the bone underneath it. From there, the surgeon will drill holes into the bone, identifying the area where the implants are to be placed. The dental implant will then be placed into the bone so that it can serve as a sturdy anchor for your prostheses.

At this point, you may still have a missing tooth, which your surgeon may conceal with a temporary prosthesis.

The Placement of the Tooth Prosthetic

The permanent prosthetic cannot be affixed until the bone has sufficiently healed around the implant. The healing may take multiple months but is crucial for keeping that implant secure. Once this happens, an abutment is placed on the implant. The abutment serves as the connector between the implant and the artificial tooth, also known as the implant crown. This minor surgery can usually be done with just local anesthesia. From there, your dentist will be ready to place your crown, bridge, or full dental prosthesis.

Follow-Up Appointments

Once your implants and your new teeth are fully in place, you may be asked to return for a follow-up appointment or two. These appointments allow the surgeon a chance to assess your healing and make sure the implants are working as they should. This can also be a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have about life with dental implants.

How Do I Know if Dental Implants are Right For Me?

If you are missing teeth, it is imperative to have them replaced sooner rather than later. It is not merely a matter of aesthetics. Missing teeth, when left unaddressed, can actually lead to further bone and tissue loss.

The best way to determine your options for tooth replacement is to meet with a qualified oral health professional. Dental implants represent one of the most sophisticated and long-lasting solutions for lost teeth and may be your answer to returning to full dental health.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants are made of medical-grade titanium and have undergone rigorous scientific testing. Most dental implant procedures are successful. In rare instances, complications can arise, such as the bone failing to fuse with the implant. If this happens, it simply means the implant needs to be removed and placed again at a later date. Additionally, complications and risks can be minimized by practicing good oral hygiene and avoiding unhealthy habits, such as smoking.

Is Dental Implant Surgery Painful?

One of the most common questions we get about dental implant surgery is whether it is painful. Dental implant surgery is generally considered to be an easy and minimally painful surgery whether you are under local anesthesia or sedation. At OMSNashville, we prioritize the comfort and wellbeing of our patients and are happy to provide a range of sedation options. This helps eliminate potential discomfort from the dental implant process. Additionally, pain management solutions may be discussed for the aftercare and recovery period.

Anesthesia Options

OMSNashville offers multiple sedation options for our patients. We are happy to tell you more about the options we recommend based on the specifics of your surgery.

IV Sedation

For dental implants, many patients prefer IV sedation. We happily offer IV sedation at all of our locations.

Local Anesthesia

For some procedures, including the placement of dental prosthetics, full sedation may not be necessary. Local anesthesia may be a good option for ensuring these procedures are pain-free.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Which is Better?

In addition to dental implants, patients faced with tooth loss may also consider dentures. Dentures can be a more affordable option, but they also tend to feel less comfortable and secure. Additionally, dentures may prove more difficult to care for and maintain. Dental implants ultimately represent the more stable, permanent option for patients who have sufficient bone density.

Recovery from Post Dental Implant Surgery

Getting dental implants involves surgical intervention, which means you will need to allow yourself plenty of time to rest and recover following the implant procedure. Most patients are back to routine daily activities within a few days.

How Long Does it Take to Heal After Getting Implants?

It can take as many as four to six months for your dental implants to fully heal and for you to be able to resume your normal activities without any special assistance. Most patients are back to routine daily activities within a few days.

How Long After Dental Implants Can I Eat Normally?

Immediately after getting dental implants, you will want to stick with soft foods, such as broths, soups, applesauce, and yogurt. We would recommend focusing on soft foods for the first few days, easing back into a normal diet as you feel able.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The actual dental implant is designed to last 25-30 years, if not a lifetime. Assuming you practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly, you should not need to replace your implants. However, crowns, bridges, and other prostheses may need to be replaced every six to 15 years, depending on the type of prosthesis and on use.

Patient Information

  • You may not have anything to eat or drink (including water) for six (6) hours prior to the appointment.
  • No smoking at least 12 hours before surgery. Ideally, cut down or stop smoking as soon as possible prior to the day of surgery.
  • A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, and drive the patient home.
  • The patient should not drive a vehicle or operate any machinery for 24 hours following the anesthesia experience.
  • Please wear loose-fitting clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up past the elbow and low-heeled shoes.
  • Contact lenses, jewelry, and dentures must be removed at the time of surgery.
  • Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
  • If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, stomach, or bowel upset, please notify the office.
  • If you take routine oral medications, please check with OMSNashville prior to your surgical date for instructions.
  • Try not to disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. There may be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue. This will be at your doctor’s discretion.
  • Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze placed directly on the bleeding wound for 15-20 minutes. If bleeding continues, please call for further instructions.
  • Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag, a plastic bag, or a towel filled with ice on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice on and off every 30 minutes for the first 24-48 hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot temperatures and spicy liquids or food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.

Pain

You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. Over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil/Motrin (Ibuprofen), has proven to manage oral pain very effectively. Tylenol and Ibuprofen may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol or in conjunction with Tylenol on an alternating schedule. Ibuprofen bought over-the-counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken every 3-4 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are typically prescribed with implant surgery, but this will be at the discretion of your doctor.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Sometimes your doctor will prescribe a prescription-strength antibacterial oral rinse called Peridex. On the night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex before bed. The day after surgery, the Peridex should be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Warm salt water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day, as well, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is recommended and is usually accomplished with gentle brush strokes.

Activity

Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.

Wearing your Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures may be used on a limited basis immediately after surgery. This will be discussed in the pre-operative consultation.

Nashville’s Oral Surgeons for Dental Implants

As you seek the most experienced surgeons to assist you with dental implants, please reach out to our team at OMSNashville. We have all the qualifications to provide you with exemplary care and to assist you in achieving a full, healthy smile. Schedule a consultation at one of our convenient locations in Bellevue, Brentwood, Mt. Juliet, Nashville, Springfield, Gallatin, Goodlettsville, and Hendersonville.