Back Flip Smile Makeover
Summer days in Florida are not complete without watermelon, BBQ and swimming pools. Last summer, a gaggle of neighborhood kids rotated in and out of our pool doing their tricks and competing for the best cannon ball. My sunshine soaked 22 year-old daughter, the oldest in the group, bounced and flipped off the diving board with broad splashes hitting those of us soaking up rays poolside. Her tricks got increasingly crazier each turn she had on the board. With eyes squinted tightly closed and her hand squeezed her nose, she turned backwards inching her heels off the edge of the diving board. After two big jumps, she back flipped her face smack into the diving board then dropped into the water. As she came up from the water, she let out a painful cry and cupped her hand over her mouth. The diving board collision had completely knocked out two teeth!
We called our dentist to see if they could fit us in for an emergency appointment. Fortunately, one Piedra Dentistry Advantage membership perk is a complimentary emergency dental exam and x-ray.
Her two displaced teeth were not salvageable. Dental implants would be her only hope for permanent teeth to fill the double gap in her beautiful smile. Dr. Piedra took time and explained the process, which I discovered, is more fascinating than I expected and surprisingly didn’t trigger my squeamish side.
An implant can be used to replace an already missing tooth (or teeth) or when a tooth is no longer salvageable and the patient has no choice but to extract it leaving an open space in their dentition. Teeth can be declared unsalvageable due to gross decay, trauma or root fractures.
Implants look completely natural and are strong enough for her to chew steak. (Imagine my daughter taking in a deep breath of relief.)
We decided to move forward with the treatment plan. Once the implant site was ready, a scan was taken along with upper and lower impressions as well as a mold showing how her teeth come together. These records were then provided to the lab for a custom surgical guide to be fabricated.
With the implant guide ready, she was scheduled for placement of the implants. In a simple and efficient surgical guided process the two implants were placed using local anesthetic. The titanium implant now acts as the new ‘root’ of the tooth. The titanium fused naturally with the bone. We were told this is the same technology used in procedures like knee and hip replacements.
After, approximately, 3 months healing time, which allowed the titanium implants to integrate fully with the bone, we returned for impressions to be taken for the lab-fabricated abutment (the link between the implant ‘root’ and the crown ‘tooth’). The abutments screw into the implant. He told us the process time for the lab to fabricate the implant crowns after the impression is approximately 2 weeks. The crown is retained by a screw or by permanent crown cement, depending on the type of crown chosen by Dr. Piedra.
Now the new tooth colored implants blend beautifully in my daughter’s smile! Dr. Piedra explained her implants would be monitored like her natural teeth at all dental cleanings.
We are grateful Dr. Carlos Piedra and his team solved our dental emergency in a permanent and beautiful way!
Perks to Dental Implant:
- Long-term Solution: Implants can last a lifetime!
- Secure: It is secure, comfortable and a more permanent solution than crowns or bridges.
- Function & Strong: Being able to bite into an apple again.
- Quick Recovery: Most people feel well enough to return to work or normal activities right away. (This is great news. Who wants to waste a day of vacation time on dental work?!)
- Cavity Free: The implant tooth would be brushed like a natural tooth but no cavity could form!
- Aesthetics: Implants blend beautifully with natural teeth.
- Strong Enough for Steak: My mouth is watering.
Keep In Mind:
- Delaying a dental implant for too long could cause jaw bone to atrophy or reabsorb, contribute to shifting teeth or changes in facial structure, or make a procrastinated implant less likely to be an option down the road.
- Seriously, timely treatment really matters! Delaying an implant can cause supraeruption. This is a real pain to deal with. Supraeruption occurs when a tooth on the opposite jaw of the missing tooth supraerupts, or moves above the appropriate gum line or arch space because there is no opposite tooth in which to come into contact. Extraction of the supraerrupted tooth/teeth may be required if movement begins to expose the roots.
- For those missing several teeth and considering a dental bridge, keep the following in mind. A bridge may impact the structure of surrounding healthy teeth. (Similar to adjacent disc disease in spinal implants). Day-to-day removal of a partial denture or bridge can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. With implants, simply brush, floss and get in bed! No hassle.
- Implants can also support several tooth gaps via a specialized dentures but unlike bridges, healthy teeth are not impacted. Dr. Carlos Piedra can explain more about implant-supported bridges or dentures which contain multiple replacement teeth.
For more information on dental implants, call Piedra Dentistry @ 352-378-1700 and check out these free resources.
- Dental Solutions for Missing Teeth Video
- Restoring Quality of Life- A Better Treatment Option Brochure
- Healthy bone and gums help expedite the implant process but bone grafting can be done if there is a questionable or insufficient bone density. This becomes the sturdy base for supporting the abutment and crown. For more on bone grafting, click here