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Dental Implants – Green Hills

New Teeth That Stay Secure

young man smiling with dental implants in Green Hills

After you lose a tooth, it’s only a matter of time before your jawbone starts to deteriorate due to the lack of stimulation from chewing. You can use traditional restorations like removeable dentures and dental bridges to eat and speak normally, but they won’t do anything to prevent bone loss. At Green Hills Dental Center, we can keep your smile healthy and strong by using dental implants. To find out if this restorative treatment option is right for you, schedule a consultation with us today.

Why Choose Green Hills Dental Center for Dental Implants?

  • Partnered with the Best Local Dental Implant Specialists
  • Friendly, Experienced Dentist and Team
  • Tooth Replacement That Looks and Feels Natural

What Are Dental Implants?

diagram of dental implant post, abutment, and crown

While traditional methods sit on top of the gums, dental implants in Green Hills are the only solution that recreates the tooth’s root structure as well as the visible crown. The implant itself is a small titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone to mimic the root of a lost tooth. Because titanium is biocompatible, it will eventually fuse to the jawbone, basically becoming a part of you. Afterward, Dr. Kirby will place a custom-made crown, bridge, or denture (depending on how many teeth you’re missing) to complete your smile.

The 4-Step Dental Implant Process

dentist examining a patient’s mouth

When people first learn about dental implants, they are often confused just by how the process works. Dental implants may sound complicated if you’re learning about them for the first time, but the treatment is actually quite straightforward. Each dental implant is designed to replace the root structure of your tooth, which is incredibly important for ensuring a long-lasting bond. Once your restoration is placed on top, you’ll have a much better, long-term solution for your tooth loss than either dentures or dental bridges can provide. Keep reading to learn more about the process in more detail!

Initial Dental Implant Consultation

single dental implant in a jawbone

During your first appointment regarding dental implants, Dr. Kirby will make sure that your oral health is in order before beginning any treatment. This involves examining the condition of your gum and bone tissue in greater detail, confirming the number of teeth you need to replace to restore your smile (as well as which teeth you need to replace), and whether or not you need a preparatory treatment (i.e., bone grafts, sinus lifts, periodontal therapy) to make implants viable. Once we have a clearer picture of what your implant treatment will look like, we can schedule you for surgery at a later date.

Dental Implant Surgery

dental implant post without crown in a person’s mouth

Dr. Kirby works with trusted implant specialist to complete the surgical portion of your dental implant treatment. You’ll meet with them to have your implants placed. The process is relatively straightforward. To start, a small incision is made inside of your gum tissue and the implant is placed directly into your jaw. Then, the gum tissue is sealed, and the titanium post is given several months of time to heal and integrate with your oral structures. This process is very important in ensuring a bond that stands the test of time.

Dental Implant Osseointegration/Abutment

two dental crowns

Over the next four to six months, your implant will slowly integrate with your jawbone tissue. This process, known as osseointegration, is what gives your tooth replacement the long-lasting connection that it needs to remain stable through daily use. After osseointegration is complete, we can attach the abutment (a metal attachment) to the implant so that your permanent restoration has a proper foundation. After a few more weeks of healing occurs, in this case the gum tissue healing around the implant and abutment, we can place the final restoration(s).

Delivery of Dental Implant Restorations

single dental implant post in the jaw

During the final phase of your treatment, we’ll begin the process of designing and fabricating your permanent restoration. Whether it’s a single tooth you intend to replace or a full arch of teeth, your next restoration will be made with natural-looking porcelain and acrylic materials. At your final appointment, we’ll attach the restoration to your implant and make sure that it remains even with the rest of your bite. We’ll also make any adjustments as needed. If for any reason your replacement tooth (or teeth) does not feel comfortable, we’ll take the necessary steps to modify it until it feels right.

How Dental Implants Can Change Your Life

close up of a man smiling

Thanks to their unique placement inside the jaw and their ability to recreate the entire structure of a lost tooth, dental implants can accomplish many things that other replacement teeth cannot. Here are some of the benefits of dental implants in Green Hills that you can look forward to:

Day-to-Day Benefits

woman biting into a red apple

Dental implants are able to restore chewing power nearly equal to natural teeth, so you won’t have to worry about diet restrictions as you would with traditional dentures. Another advantage they have over dentures is increased security. Because your new teeth are anchored onto posts that are placed directly in your jaw, your prosthetic should not slip out of place at awkward times.

Not only will you be able to smile confidently with the knowledge that your teeth won’t fall out or move around, but your pearly whites will also look perfectly natural. Your implant dentist in Green Hills will make sure your restorations match your original teeth in size, shape, and color. In short, dental implants are able to look, feel, and function almost exactly like your natural teeth did.

Health Benefits

elderly couple brushing their teeth together

Without the roots of your teeth, your jawbone loses density, which can create wrinkles around your lips and on your face. Because dental implants stimulate the jawbone, they will help you maintain a younger-looking facial structure. They’ll also keep the jawbone strong enough to reduce the risk of multiple oral health problems, such as further tooth loss, gum disease, and cavities.

Dental implants greatly improve your oral health in general. Unlike traditional dental bridges, implants don’t require any existing healthy tooth structure to be worn-down. Also, unlike dentures alone, implants shouldn’t irritate your gums. Since they prevent these problems, dental implants in Green Hills are by far the healthiest way to replace missing teeth.

Long-Term Benefits

man smiling in a forest

In addition to being the healthiest option, dental implants also are the most successful of all of the tooth replacements available today. In most cases, dental implants have a success rate of 95% or higher, even after more than a decade. Although dental implant failure is possible, it’s also largely preventable if you take the right precautions (i.e., avoiding tobacco and practicing good oral hygiene).

Also, dental implants are very easy to care for. For the most part, you can just brush and floss them like you would natural teeth. You shouldn’t have to spend time and money on additional cleaning supplies, like water flossers or denture cleanser.

Lastly, dental implants are the most cost-effective solution in the long run. Admittedly, they cost more up-front than dentures or bridges, but it should just be a one-time payment that can last for several decades. Traditional options must be repaired frequently, and replaced entirely every five to ten years on average. Over the years, the costs of these repairs and replacements may compound their original lower price.

By investing in dental implants, you’re making a decision that can benefit your smile, your health, and even your wallet!

Who Dental Implants Can Help

dental implant post, abutment, and crown

Are you a denture-wearer who is tired of your prosthetic slipping? Do you want a solution that doesn’t require so much time to keep clean? Or have you recently lost one or more teeth and are considering your available options for replacement? “Lost teeth” can mean anything from a single gap in your smile to an entire missing arch. As long as there’s adequate bone structure available and the rest of your mouth is healthy, dental implants can support various restorations to replace any number of teeth. More than 3 million people are already enjoying the great advantages provided by these unique prosthetics, so why not speak to a dental implant dentist in Green Hills about how you can begin treatment?

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

A dentist explaining how dental implants work to a female patient with a missing tooth

To determine if you qualify for dental implant placement, you will first need to make an appointment to see Dr. Kirby. It is during this scheduled consultation that he will review your smile in its entirety. Using advanced technology, he will base his decision on a few important factors, including:

  • Your oral and overall health. You should be healthy enough to undergo minor oral surgery and show no signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. Should he find any issues, you will need to seek appropriate treatment before moving forward with dental implants in Green Hills.
  • The status of your jawbone. It is necessary for dental implants to fuse with strong, healthy bone. If Dr. Kirby discovers your jawbone is weak in certain areas, you may be required to undergo a bone graft or sinus lift.
  • Your commitment to oral hygiene. Keeping your real and artificial teeth healthy is imperative to ensuring a longer-lasting smile. By regularly brushing, flossing, rinsing, and maintaining checkups and cleanings with our team, you can expect to enjoy your implants for a lifetime.

It is not uncommon for some individuals to review the qualifications and automatically decide they are ineligible. Do not do this to yourself. Only Dr. Kirby can decide if your oral health is in a proper state for implant placement. Even if there are problems found during the initial consultation, he can develop a treatment plan that will allow you to move forward with implants later on.

When looking for ways to replace your missing teeth, you don’t need to assume traditional dentures or fixed bridges are your only solution. Dental implants are extremely versatile, making it possible for them a viable option no matter how many teeth are missing.

Missing 1 Tooth

The American College of Prosthodontists state that around 120 million Americans are missing at least one permanent tooth, and nearly 36 million do not have any natural teeth left. Even a single missing tooth can cause changes to occur that can make eating and speaking more difficult. By replacing one missing tooth with a single tooth dental implant, we can bring back your beautiful smile and provide a complete look that functions normally. And the best part is we won’t need to alter your regular teeth because dental implants only require a vacated socket and a strong jawbone, not adjacent teeth, to remain firmly in place.

Missing Multiple Teeth

If multiple missing teeth are the problem, we will be happy to insert two dental implants into the outer sockets before having a customized bridge created. Fusing multiple dental crowns to create a bridge restoration, it will rest on top of your implants and provide a completely natural appearance. Unlike a traditional fixed bridge that relies on abutment teeth to serve as anchors, an implant bridge will be surgically put into place, creating a more stable and longer-lasting prosthetic. Not to mention, your regular, healthy teeth will not shift out of place, helping to keep your facial shape from changing or causing orthodontic problems to develop.

Missing All Teeth

Removable dentures may give you the look of a complete smile, but they ultimately leave much to be desired. After all, they only sit on top of the gums and rely on your natural suction to hold them in place. With an implant denture, we can place between 4 and 6 dental implants along the top or bottom arch before attaching metal abutments and a customized denture, which will be secured to the tops of your implants. This will allow you to retrieve a greater bite force and chewing power for improved functionality when eating, and you’ll also enjoy a complete and clearer way to speak.

Learn More About Implant Dentures

Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants

a person drawing a chart with chalk that shows value and cost

The cost of dental implants in Green Hills depends on your unique tooth loss situation. Dr. Kirby and our team will examine your mouth and create a custom-tailored plan just for you. We will then walk you through how we propose to revitalize and rebuild your smile. Partnering with the best local dental implant specialists in the area, you can trust that your new teeth will look and feel completely natural. Since the entire dental implant process takes place over several months and multiple appointments, each separate part will incur its own fee at the time of service, making the treatment easier to budget for.

Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery

a dentist showing a patient their X-ray

At your initial consultation, Dr. Kirby, your implant dentist in Green Hills, will examine your facial structure and conduct a thorough visual and tactile examination of your teeth and gums to determine whether you require any preparatory procedures. These include gum disease therapy, a tooth extraction, a bone graft, or a sinus lift to make sure that your surgery is successful, and each one will be an additional cost added to your estimate.

Once your smile is healthy and in great condition to receive the dental implants, you’ll go in for your surgery. At Green Hills Dental Center, we partner with local specialists to perform the actual placement procedure. The cost of your procedure will depend on how many dental implants you need to have placed, whether you require sedation, and the location of your implants. You can expect to pay a separate fee to the implant specialist.

The Parts of Your Dental Implant

a computer illustration showing the different parts of a dental implant

Another component included in the overall cost of treatment is the actual parts of your dental implants in Green Hills, including:

  • How many implants you will need – The more implants you require, the more expensive your treatment will be. While a single implant replaces one missing tooth, two implants are required for a bridge or partial, and between 4 and 8 are needed for a full denture.
  • The materials used – Titanium and zirconia are the two most common dental implant materials used, both of which incur their own fee.
  • The type of restoration – A single implant crown will cost less than an implant denture; however, replacing an entire arch with a prosthetic held into place by implants is more cost-effective than traditional dentures.
  • The brand – Your oral surgeon will determine the brand of dental implants you will receive, but you can rest assured that this information will be further explained during your consultation, as higher-quality brands lead to longer-lasting, more reliable results.

How Dental Implants Can Save You Money

a smiling person working on their laptop

While you do have the option to choose traditional prosthetics like dentures or dental bridges to replace your missing teeth, you will soon discover that you’re paying more in the long run. Instead, with dental implants, you will keep more money in your pocket by avoiding:

  • Dental adhesives
  • Special cleaning supplies
  • Frequent adjustments and replacements
  • Treatment for systemic issues commonly caused by tooth loss (i.e., heart disease, diabetes, etc.)

Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

a dental insurance claim form on a clipboard

Most dental insurances won’t pay the entire amount of the procedure; however, many policies cover a position of the cost after paying your annual deductible. Even if they do not agree to cover the surgical part of your treatment, they may agree to pay a portion of your preliminary treatments and/or restoration. We’ll file the necessary forms to reduce the amount you need to pay out-of-pocket and can help you save even more if you’re in-network.

Making Dental Implants Affordable

a person calculating whether they can afford dental implants

We accept several payment options to cover any remaining balance or make the treatment more affordable for patients who don’t have insurance, including third-party financing with CareCredit. We will help you find the options you need to replace your missing teeth in Green Hills without worrying about a large bill.

Advanced Dental Implant Procedures

dental implant post in the bottom jaw

Based on the results of your initial consultation, you may not be a candidate for dental implants at first, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become one with additional dental implant procedures. Often, patients don’t have enough bone density to support implant posts. If bone loss is preventing you from getting dental implants, we can create the foundation they need to thrive. No matter if you need bone grafting or a sinus lift, we can help you replace your missing teeth with dental implants.

Bone Grafting

dental implant post in the upper jaw

A titanium implant post replicates the root of your tooth. As a result, it stimulates your jaw to encourage new bone growth. Through a process called osseointegration, your bone fuses to the post, allowing it to stay in place forever with the right care. Unfortunately, if you have lost density in your jaw, there won’t be enough bone to support the post, which will ultimately lead to implant failure if the issue isn’t corrected.

Bone grafting is a simple surgical procedure to add thickness to an area where the jawbone has been compromised. Bone from another area of your body or a donor is grafted onto the location to make it stronger. After it’s in place, it will integrate with your jawbone over the next several weeks.

Sinus Lifts

dentist performing sinus lift procedure

You have a maxillary sinus located on either side of your nose near your back molars. Sometimes, there isn’t enough space to place implant posts in the back of the mouth if the sinuses sit too low or you’ve lost bone in the area. If the post is placed without increasing the height, the post will protrude into the sinus cavity.

A sinus lift is a surgical procedure to raise the sinus. A small hole is cut into the upper jawbone to gain access to the sinus. The sinus is lifted upward, and a bone grafting material is inserted into the hole to hold it in place. Your gum tissue is sutured closed, and you’ll spend the next several weeks healing.

Maintaining & Caring For Your Dental Implants

An older man smiles after learning about dental implant care in Green Hills

Knowing how to take care of your smile after receiving dental implants is vitally important if you want them to remain firmly in place for a lifetime. At Green Hills Dental Center, you can count on our team to provide you with the necessary information associated with dental implant care in Green Hills, so you can feel confident when it comes to cleaning, maintaining, and protecting your new teeth. Whether it is learning better oral hygiene habits, swapping out unhealthy foods for those that are more nutritious, or even safeguarding your smile from injury, you can find the help you need in the information provided below. Contact us if you have any additional questions.

Making Oral Hygiene a Priority

A man brushing his teeth to keep his dental implants in Green Hills clean

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is important no matter if you have dental implants or not. However, if you are living with these permanent prosthetics, you need to be diligent about brushing, flossing, and rinsing just like you do your regular teeth. This helps to minimize tooth decay, gum disease, and even bad breath. Allowing these problems to linger will only result in serious oral health issues that can negatively impact your dental implants in Green Hills.

Eating a Healthy Diet

An older woman eating a salad for lunch in Green Hills

Leafy greens, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy are all excellent sources of nutrients that your body and smile need to remain healthy. Too much sugar and starch can lead to harmful bacteria and acids building inside your mouth and causing tooth decay to form on your natural teeth as well as gum disease. Should your soft tissues become inflamed, you can be left with needing periodontal therapy to try and avoid dental implant failure. By choosing healthier food options, your real and artificial teeth will look and feel better than ever.

Breaking Bad Habits

A woman chewing on a pencil while working in Green Hills

Everyone has bad habits, but if you are living with dental implants and you smoke, chew on pens and pencils, eat ice, bite your fingernails, or use your teeth as tools, your worthwhile investment can quickly lead to more timely and costly procedures. Avoiding these practices will better protect your natural teeth and dental implants from serious damage. While it may not be easy to break these habits, it’s best to seek cessation resources to kick the habit or even keep sugar-free chewing gum on hand to minimize the temptation to smoke or chew on inanimate objects.

Protecting Your Dental Implants

A middle-aged woman showing off her healthy smile in Green Hills

A customized mouthguard is a great investment to make when receiving dental implants, especially if you enjoy playing sports or are prone to grinding your teeth at night. Your involvement in outdoor, physical activities can prove detrimental if you’re not careful. A hard-hitting impact or fall can leave you with a busted or broken dental implant that will need to be fixed. Also, bruxism (teeth grinding) can weaken your natural tooth enamel and cause cracks in your dental implants, requiring your implant dentist in Green Hills to fix the problem. With a customized mouthguard, you can easily safeguard your smile for life.

Scheduling Regular Dental Checkups

An older man looking at his dental implants in Green Hills

Your dentist is your ally in combatting tooth decay, gum disease, halitosis (bad breath), and serious dental damage. After receiving your dental implants, it is still necessary to see us every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. Why? Because these visits make it possible for us to review your smile in its entirety and check for any signs of problems. We’ll also review your artificial teeth to ensure they are still firmly in place and suffering no cracks or chips. By continuing to keep your appointments, you’ll remain proactive in your attempt to better maintain your new smile.

Dental Implant FAQs

patient pointing to her smile

Are you thinking about getting dental implants in Green Hills but aren’t sure whether the procedure is right for you? It’s always important to know exactly what to expect from any given dental procedure, which is why we encourage you to ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand or if you have any concerns. Below are the answers to just some of the questions patients often ask when getting dental implants.

Is It Safe to Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants are not new to dentistry; they’ve been used to replace teeth for over half a century now. As such, there is plenty of data showing them to be safe and reliable, and the results of the procedure are very predictable.

Of course, there can still be complications. We’ll need to examine your mouth thoroughly to see if there are any health issues that need to be addressed first, such as insufficient jawbone or unhealthy gums. Your odds of success will also be much higher if your implants are being placed by someone who is skilled in performing the procedure – hence why we work with experts in the Nashville area.

Can Children Get Dental Implants?

If your child is missing one of their permanent teeth for whatever reason, you’ll want them to have the highest quality replacement available. However, we might want to wait until they reach a certain age (usually 16 for girls and 18 for boys) before giving them dental implants. This is because the procedure usually requires a fully developed jaw. Of course, everyone is different, and sometimes a younger patient might still be able to get dental implants; we’ll need to take X-rays of your child’s mouth to decide whether or not it’s an option. In some cases, you might need to consider partial dentures or another alternative.

Will My Insurance Help Pay for Dental Implants?

Some companies are willing to help pay for implant surgery, but others consider it a cosmetic procedure and thus don’t offer any benefits. You need to check with your insurance carrier to confirm exactly what your plan offers. Keep in mind that even if the implant placement isn’t covered, your plan might still pay for related procedures, such as any necessary tooth extractions or periodontal therapy. We’ll be happy to file a claim on your behalf so that you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. We’re in-network with many different plans, but we’re also willing to accept out-of-network policies.

Will I Need a Bone Graft Before Getting Dental Implants?

Bone grafts are often necessary before dental implant placement because tooth loss can directly lead to bone loss in your jaw. Of course, that’s not always the case. If your jaw still has plenty of bone (which could very well be the case if you want to have implants placed right after the teeth they’re replacing are extracted), chances are the procedure can be performed immediately without the need for additional surgeries. Dr. Kirby will help you plan your treatment depending on your unique needs.

What Should I Do If My Dental Implant Feels Loose?

If you notice that your dental implant feels loose, you should call our Green Hills dental team right away. The sooner you do, the sooner we can determine the root of the problem and put a plan in place to fix it.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last? 

Dental implants are unique in multiple ways, including their lifespan. With proper maintenance, they can last for more than 30 years! In addition to visiting us every six months for a checkup and cleaning, take proactive steps to keep your oral health in pristine condition from home. That includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash regularly, and avoiding unhealthy dental habits, like smoking.

Will I Have to Take Off Work for Dental Implant Surgery?

Most likely. If you have an office job, then you may only need to take a day or two off. If, on the other hand, you have a physically demanding job, then we may recommend taking at least three or four days off so you can properly recover. Although it can be difficult to take it easy (especially if you’re normally on-the-go), it’s important to remember that the recovery period is crucial. So, follow all of your post-op instructions, including getting plenty of rest.

Will People Be Able to Tell That I Have Dental Implants?

If you were missing several (or all) of your teeth prior to getting dental implants, then naturally your friends, family, and colleagues will notice a difference. Since each one is custom-made, however, you can trust that the results will look incredibly natural. Plus, their unmatched stability ensures that they will function beautifully as well, adding to their lifelike appearance.

Do Dental Implants Decay?

No, dental implants do not decay like your natural teeth. With that said, they do still require daily maintenance, like brushing them each morning and evening. It’s also important that you take care of your gums as well as any remaining teeth you have. After all, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues have the potential to impact the stability and longevity of your dental implants!

Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Eat with Dental Implants?

During the recovery period, you will need to stick to soft foods, such as scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and soup. After a few weeks, you’ll get the green light to enjoy a much more varied diet again. Of course, as your dental team, there are still a few foods we recommend avoiding, including caramel candies. Anything extremely sticky, sugary, or crunchy has the potential to damage your dental implants as well as your natural teeth, so it’s best to opt for nutrient-dense, smile-friendly foods whenever possible.

Can I Get Dental Implants If I Smoke?

Since using tobacco products can result in everything from dry socket to dry mouth, it’s usually not recommended. However, there are some exceptions! At the very minimum, patients are asked to refrain from smoking for at least two weeks before their procedure as well as three months afterward.