Dental Implants in Steele Creek, Charlotte

Serving the Charlotte, NC community

Most of us expect to keep our teeth for a lifetime, but it doesn’t always happen that way. According to data published by the American College of Prosthodontists, almost 120 million people have one tooth missing, and 36 million are missing all their teeth.

If you are seeking tooth replacement in Charlotte, NC, you have options for replacement. But of those options, the preferred method for tooth replacement is dental implants. Dental implants are the tooth replacement option that looks, feels, and functions the most like natural teeth.

To find out more about what dental implants can do for you, call Dr. H. Justin Harlow of Harlow Dental at Steele Creek at (704) 764-0060.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a post made of titanium that is well-accepted by the body. It is positioned in the jawbone to replace your absent natural tooth root. Eventually, the implant post will integrate into your jawbone, so it is permanent.

dental crown or other restoration like a dental bridge or dentures is placed on top of the titanium post to form the replacement tooth. We craft your restoration using premium materials that we design to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile.

Dental implants are permanent and will not move or shift the way dentures do. Patients with dental implants can chew, eat, speak, and laugh just as they did with their natural teeth.

Why are you recommending dental implants?

Dental implants are considered the standard of care for tooth replacement. Here are a few reasons why dentists recommend them:

  • A dental implant looks and functions very similarly to natural teeth—much more so than dentures
  • Dental implants are permanent structures that become integrated into the jawbone, so there is no worry about moving or slipping as can occur with dentures
  • Dental implants improve healthy jawbone density. They stimulate the jawbone the same way the natural tooth root does. The sunken look that affects most denture wearers after years of dentures does not happen with dental implant recipients

If you want to discover more about dental implants in Charlotte, NC, and how they could benefit you, please call to arrange a consultation with Dr. Harlow.

What are some advantages of dental implants?

There are many benefits to choosing dental implants for tooth replacement in Charlotte, NC:

  • Because the implant integrates with the jawbone, it protects you from bone loss. Without a dental implant to take the place of a missing tooth root, the jawbone will begin to break down and cause your face to take on a sunken appearance
  • You can chew all of your favorite crunchy vegetables and juicy steaks without worry. Unlike dentures that move and shift, you will have no concerns when you eat, speak, and laugh
  • Dental implants often last a lifetime with proper care. Caring for dental implants is no different than caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss, and see your dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups

What is the process like for getting implants?

The process for getting dental implants takes place over several months and begins with an examination by Charlotte, NC dentist Dr. Justin Harlow.

Once he gives you the green light, Dr. Harlow plans the precise placement of the dental implant post then places it surgically into your jawbone. Most people heal quickly from this surgery and experience minimal discomfort.

Over the next three to six months, your jawbone heals, and the implant integrates permanently in place. After healing is complete, we attach a piece called an abutment that connects the replacement tooth to the implant. We place a dental crown or other restoration on the abutment, which completes the process. 

Is titanium a safe material for dental implants?

Titanium is referred to as a biocompatible material because the body readily accepts it with little risk of rejection. Medical-grade titanium is the perfect choice for dental implant posts where integration with bone and tissue in your jaw is necessary. Titanium has also been used safely for decades by surgeons for joint replacement.

Can dental implants make a difference when it comes to my dentures?

If you are getting dentures for the first time or you’re currently dealing with removable dentures that slip and shift, implant-supported dentures are a great option to consider. Implant-supported dentures attach to dental implants and provide a stable base for dentures.

Because dental implants integrate into your jawbone and dentures are attached to them, your dentures will not move or shift the way removable dentures can. You will have the confidence of knowing you can speak, chew, laugh, and even sneeze with no unexpected and embarrassing movement of your dentures.

How do I know if I’m a good candidate for an implant?

Many people who come to our Steele Creek, NC practice asking about dental implants want to know whether or not they qualify for them. One of the criteria is that you have enough dense bone in your jaw to hold the implant in place. Otherwise, adults who are healthy enough to have a tooth extracted are often good candidates.

The best way to find out for sure if you qualify is to visit Dr. Harlow for a dental appointment. He will conduct a thorough exam to determine if your bone is strong enough to support dental implants.

Who shouldn’t get dental implants?

Dental implants are meant to remain in your jaw for a lifetime, which makes them an investment well worth making for many people. However, some reasons you may not be eligible for dental implants include:

  • Bone loss. If you have been missing teeth for a while, your bone may have already deteriorated to the point where it cannot support dental implants
  • Smoking. Although this habit may not disqualify you from getting dental implants, smoking impairs your body’s ability to heal correctly. Smoking can impact the healing process following dental implants and significantly reduce the probability of success
  • Chemotherapy. If you have ever undergone radiation treatment for cancer, this might impair the ability of your jawbone to bond with the implants. Depending on when you had the chemotherapy, your body might also have a more difficult time healing from the implant procedure

Be sure to talk to your dentist about any of these habits or conditions when seeking advice regarding dental implants. Often these can be overcome with specific treatment and proper planning. 

How should I care for my dental implant?

If you practiced good oral hygiene at home before receiving your new dental implant, you need to continue that after we place your implant. Brush twice a day—or after each meal—and floss once a day, preferably before bedtime. Although the dental implant cannot develop decay like your natural tooth, protecting your gum health is crucial to maintaining the health of your dental implant.

Be sure to visit your Charlotte, NC dentist at Harlow Dental twice each year to have your implants checked over and to have your teeth cleaned. Dr. Harlow will also continue to monitor your gum health to ensure your implant is not compromised.

If you are wondering if dental implants are right for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call to make an appointment for a consultation. Find out more about this life-changing tooth replacement option. Call us today!

How long will my dental implants last?

As your implant heals, it becomes a permanent part of your dental anatomy and should last a lifetime. To understand how to care for your implant, you need to know how it works.

Dental implants are made up of three components:

  • The implant itself, which takes the place of the tooth root. This is a titanium post surgically placed into the jawbone. After a period of three to six months, the post will integrate into the bone through a process called osseointegration
  • The abutment, which is the attachment on the dental implant that holds the dental crown, or replacement tooth, in place
  • The crown, which is the ceramic tooth that attaches to the abutment. It looks and functions very much like your natural tooth

The abutment and crown are both at risk of becoming damaged because they are exposed above the gum line. It’s also crucial to maintain good gum health to avoid peri-implantitis, which is an inflammation that affects the hard and soft tissue that holds your implant in place. Proper home care and regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings will help keep your implant and your gums in good shape. 

Contact your dentist at Steele Creek if you're considering dental implants.