Restoring your smile can sometimes seem like an arduous process. Even deciding which dental procedure is right can take time while you weigh the pros vs. the cons of dental implants and veneers.
Ultimately, it’s best to do your research. However, you should also ask your dentist for their recommendations based on their assessment. For some, a dental implant restoration is going to be their best option for correcting the appearance of their teeth and restoring their smile overall.
While the process can take a few months to fully complete, a dental implant restoration can last 25 years or longer. This dental procedure also makes it much easier for you and your dentist in the future if you need to have a crown or bridge replaced.
In this piece, our team will go over 4 signs that you need a dental implant restoration. We will also give you tips on how you can make sure your dental implant lasts and explain which bad habits you should avoid to maintain your oral health.
Discomfort or tooth pain can spell a number of dental problems, which is why making an appointment with your dentist should be your first priority if it happens. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need a dental implant right away, but in some cases, it can point to a tooth infection.
Sometimes infections can be taken care of with specialized treatment. Depending on the severity, your dentist will drain the area of pus and then clean it to ensure a reinfection does not happen.
However, in some cases, your dentist will also have to perform a root canal. A root canal treatment will help correct the abscess that may be left behind after the procedure.
If a root canal doesn’t help the structure of the affected tooth, then the next step will be to remove the tooth. This type of dental procedure is called a tooth extraction. If this leads to a missing tooth in your mouth, a dental implant may be necessary to help you with your bite and restore your smile.
Your Dentures Are Loose
Because dentures are supposed to last for a couple decades, it may be alarming if you suddenly start feeling shifting in your mouth as you speak or eat. A loose denture is not normal and should be addressed right away to prevent future problems, like irritation in the gums from constant rubbing.
Even if your dentures were properly fitted before, over time, the structure of your mouth will change. This means you will have to get a new set of dentures that fit your teeth and gums over and over again. However, if you get a dental implant restoration, you will likely only need to have a crown replaced every now and then.
This is especially life-changing for those that don’t like going to the dentist more than they need to. Your mouth is always changing, so attaching a metal post onto the jawbone itself is the best way to avoid some of the dental problems caused by aging in the future.
You Can’t Chew Your Food Right
Whether you have tooth pain or your teeth are shifting around in your mouth, if you have trouble chewing your food at any point, it’s time to see the dentist. Sometimes pain or shifting can point to signs of gum disease or issues like receding gums.
In order to treat it, your dentist will have to either heal it with an antibiotic treatment or perform dental surgery to restore the gums. Some people assume that having shifting teeth will disqualify them as a candidate for dental implant surgery. However, just because you have periodontal disease doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to benefit from a dental implant restoration.
Not being able to chew your food right may also be the result of a crack or a chip in your tooth. Depending on the severity, the tooth may need to be extracted, which is where a dental implant may benefit you the most in the long term.
Your Face is Starting to Sag
Looking our best is important to many of us, and it can be a top priority for some. However, if you notice your face sagging in certain areas, you may be looking at more than just a cosmetic issue.
Sometimes after a tooth extraction, your jawbone may start to deteriorate. This can happen sometimes within six weeks after you get the procedure done. That’s why your dentist may recommend a dental implant surgery to keep this from happening in the future depending on your dental needs and dental history.
However, age is another factor that can lead to bone loss in the jaw. Over time, your hormones will change, as will the mineral content in your bones. Even if you haven’t had a tooth extracted before, other dental procedures you get may require you to eventually get a dental implant to help secure a crown or bridge.
How to Care for Your Teeth After Getting a Dental Implant
Now that we’ve addressed the reasons why you may need a dental implant restoration, it’s important for us to also advise you on how to take care of a dental implant. In many ways, you will need to treat the attached crown or bridge the same way you would treat your normal teeth.
However, you may need to provide a bit of extra care to maintain your oral health while you heal, especially in the beginning. Here’s a few tips on what you will need to do differently to take care of your tooth implant:
Be Gentle and Take Pain Medication When Necessary
While your dentist will do everything they can–like using nitrous oxide–to ensure you won’t feel pain during the dental implant procedure, you will still need to heal afterwards. Typically, it will take a minimum of 4 months and a maximum of 6 months for the dental implant to fuse to the bone and for your mouth to fully heal.
Your dentist will give you a temporary crown to make sure you have something to protect your tooth from an infection. While this will help, you’ll need to be extra mindful of the areas surrounding the temporary crown. Over the counter pain relievers will likely be all you need to minimize discomfort during the healing process.
Keep Up With Your Oral Care Routine
You should floss every day regardless of what dental procedures you’ve had, but flossing right after a dental implant restoration can take a little extra time. Right after the procedure, you need to be extra gentle with your teeth and gums. However, not cleaning them well enough can lead to dental problems, so it’s best to take your time.
As your jaw and gums heal, you will be extra sensitive to pressure in some ways and numb to it in others. This means you may not notice that you’re pushing too hard on the gum line with the floss, which can cause it to bleed or lead to an infection.
You also need to practice caution with your brushing routine. Although, regardless of whether you have a dental implant or not, it’s much more beneficial for you to brush your teeth gently with small circular motions. Hard scrubbing harms your teeth more than it helps them.
Minimize Hard and Sticky Food
With any kind of dental surgery, it’s important to watch what you eat right after. Hard and sticky foods in particular are no-gos for those with a freshly installed dental implant.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to eat your food in liquid form for weeks though. You should only have to stick to liquid foods for about a couple days. Your dentist will instruct you on what you can eat during the initial healing period and the months leading up to the final stages of healing.
Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
Another important way you can take care of your dental implants is to use specific kinds of toothpaste that are made for sensitive teeth. While you normally need toothpaste with fluoride to maintain your oral health, flouride-free toothpastes may be better for those with dental implants.
Because most toothpastes with fluoride have abrasive ingredients, they may irritate the gums as they heal around the implant. You can also ask your dentist for recommendations on what sort of teeth cleaning products you should get after a dental implant.
Where to Get a Dental Implant Restoration in Pineville, NC
Because dental implants take months to heal–but also last for decades–you want to make sure you’re in good hands. At Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we have an experienced team that is ready to help you with your every need. We specialize in cosmetic dentistry and major dental procedures like extractions.
If you’re looking to get a dental implant restoration in Pineville, NC, you can put your trust in us to give you the long-lasting results you’re looking for. Call us today to schedule an appointment and take your first steps towards a healthier and more beautiful smile!