Serving the Birmingham, AL community
Living with tooth loss takes a toll on your life; you have to find comfortable ways to chew the foods you love, you can’t speak or smile without embarrassment, and your confidence plummets. Addressing tooth loss as soon as possible is essential, and many patients today turn to dental implants, a state-of-the-art tooth replacement solution.
At Cook Family Dental, we recommend dental implants because they have a proven success rate of 95 percent, and millions of people are enjoying an improved quality of life because of the benefits they offer.
- What is a dental implant?
- How does the dental implant process work?
- Is the procedure for placing implants painful?
- Why is it important to replace missing teeth?
- What’s the best option for restoring an implant?
- Do implants look like natural teeth?
- How do implant-supported dentures work?
- Who is a good candidate for a dental implant?
- What's the best way to care for my implant?
- How long do dental implants last?
- How do I arrange an implant consultation to get started?
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium replacement tooth that is closest in function, appearance, and comfort to a natural tooth. While bridges or dentures sit on top of your gums and provide an aesthetic solution, a dental implant is placed surgically in your jaw and acts as an artificial tooth root.
As the biocompatible implant heals in your jaw, it fuses fully with surrounding bone and tissue during a process called osseointegration. When healing is complete, the implant becomes a permanent part of your dental anatomy. Depending on your needs, we will attach either a crown, bridge, or full or partial denture to restore function and appearance to your implant.
How does the dental implant process work?
Once you and Dr. Cook decide that a dental implant is the right solution for you, we schedule an appointment to get started.
- Place the implant –Dr. Cook has many hours of specialized training in placing dental implants. With his expertise and experience, he surgically places the implant in your jaw during a procedure that takes just one to two hours.
- Let the implant heal – During the healing process called osseointegration, the implant fuses with the bone and tissue in your jaw, and this is what gives it strength and stability. Healing can take several months, but patients who have gone through the process say that the final results are well worth the wait!
- Attach your restoration – Before we place your implant, we will decide together which type of restoration will work best for you. In some cases, we can complete implant placement and restoration the same day.
We recommend a crown to replace a single missing tooth, and if we’re treating multiple missing teeth, we will use a bridge or dentures. We fasten the restoration securely to the implant which creates an entirely stable and functional replacement tooth.
Is the procedure for placing implants painful?
We understand that the process sounds a little daunting, but it’s typically easier to place an implant than it is to remove a tooth. Most patients report little discomfort because the procedure is done under local anesthetic that numbs the area and because the bone in which we place the implant doesn’t have many pain-sensing nerves.
But at Cook Family Dentistry, your comfort is our priority, so if you are concerned about the procedure, please let us know. We will talk to you about oral sedation so you can relax while Dr. Cook places your implant.
Why is it important to replace missing teeth?
When a tooth and its root are intact, the pressure and forces of biting and chewing help stimulate bone growth in your jaw. However, when you lose the tooth and root, the bone in your jaw starts to deteriorate, changing the appearance of your face and eliminating support for remaining teeth. Since we place the dental implant directly into the bone, the jaw stays healthy, just as it would with a natural tooth root.
What’s the best option for restoring an implant?
The answer is that the best option for you is the one that fits all your unique needs. Here are the options we offer for restoring function and appearance to your implants:
- Porcelain crown – Used to restore a single implant
- Fixed dental bridge – Used to restore two or more missing teeth in one location
- Partial denture – Used when several teeth are missing
- Full denture – Used when all the teeth in an upper or lower arch are missing
We fasten your restoration securely to the implant to create an entirely stable and functional replacement tooth. In the case of full dentures, we place implants at strategic points along your jaw bone and design the dentures with attachments that snap onto the implants.
Do implants look like natural teeth?
Since your implant is rooted in your jaw, no one will see it. What others will see is a high-quality, durable restoration that looks, fits, and feels as much like a natural tooth as possible.
Dr. Cook takes pride in designing all-porcelain crowns and bridges and full and partial dentures. He will help you choose the option that is the best fit for all your needs, then customize it so that it blends seamlessly with your smile and complements your appearance.
We especially enjoy designing implant dentures because we can customize them for our patients down to the smallest details like the shape, size, and positioning of artificial teeth in the base.
How do implant-supported dentures work?
Dental implants have dramatically improved the quality of life for many people who wear dentures. Implants solve all the problems that are typical with removable dentures by providing them with a secure, stable base.
Dr. Cook places the implants at various points along your jaw and then designs your dentures with attachments that snap onto the implants. Since the dentures are held securely in place, they won’t irritate your gums, and you don’t have to worry about them shifting, slipping, or falling out at the most awkward moments.
Who is a good candidate for a dental implant?
You are a good candidate for a dental implant if you are missing one or more teeth and are in good oral and general health. The criteria for placing an implant is that you have:
- Adequate bone available in your jaw to support the implant
- Gums that are healthy and free of periodontal disease
- A commitment to excellent oral hygiene and routine dental visits
But don’t be discouraged if you have been told you don’t have enough healthy bone available in your to jaw. You may be a candidate for a bone grafting procedure that builds up the bone in your jaw so it can support the implant. Dr. Cook works with the top oral surgeons in the area and will be happy to refer you for treatment.
What's the best way to care for my implant?
The long-term success of your implant depends on the health of the structures that support it like your gums and jaw. That is why it is essential to keep your gums healthy and avoid developing periodontal disease with a commitment to good oral hygiene and routine visits to Cook Family Dental. These appointments allow Dr. Cook to look for signs of gum disease and treat it early before it threatens the stability of your implant.
How long do dental implants last?
Your crown or bridge will need to be replaced periodically, and your dentures will likely need to be adjusted or relined. But with proper care, the implant post will remain a permanent part of your dental structure and provide many years of service.
How do I arrange an implant consultation to get started?
There's a lot to know about dental implants, and we would be more than happy to answer all your questions to see if they're a good choice for you. Please call our Birmingham dental office at (205) 326-6384 and speak to one of our friendly team members to arrange an appointment or use our convenient online contact form.