Steps Towards Getting Dental Implants

If you have been considering receiving a dental implant to replace a missing or damaged tooth but aren’t sure what goes into the process, our dentists are here to explain just what steps you may take as you prepare to receive a dental implant.

Potential Pre-Implant Steps

Before we dive into what goes on during the dental implant procedures, it is important to cover the potential pre-implant steps you may be required to undergo. Along with an in-depth consultation with one of our dentists, other preparation steps may be:

  • Bone grafting – Since a dental implant will be securely rooted in your jawbone, it is important that there is enough bone for the implant to be placed. If the bone has become thin in the implant area, then our dentists will perform a bone graft to build up your jawbone and prepare it for the implanted post.
  • Tooth extraction – If you are looking to have a damaged tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant, you will need to have the tooth extracted, and our dentists will allow the site to heal before proceeding.
  • Resolve oral issues – Should you have any other lingering oral problems such as gingivitis, our dentists will work with you to resolve them before going forward with your implant.

Procedures To Receive Dental Implants

Once any pre-implant steps are resolved, you can move forward with the actual procedures to receive your new dental implant. Our dental implant steps are:

  1. The titanium post will be placed in the implant area. If everything goes according to plan, an abutment for healing will be set instead of a cover screw as your jawbone merges with the post.
  2. After three months of the implant post healing in your mouth, the healing abutment will be removed in favor of taking an impression of your teeth and gum alignment so a new tooth can be fabricated. Our dentists will also work with you to color-match your teeth to your new implant.
  3. Once the crown of the implant has been created and delivered, our dentists will bring you in and place your new implant.

There will be a follow-up appointment to ensure that everything is working out well with your new implant. Aside from that, you should be able to enjoy your new implant without even noticing a difference between your natural teeth and the implant.

If you would want to work with some of the best dentists in Billings, MT, to receive your dental implant, contact us for a consultation with one of our dentists today!

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Survey Finds That Americans Wish They Saw Their Dentist More, Come See Us In 2019

In a 2018 survey, it was revealed that out of all the health care professionals Americans could see, from primary care doctors to endocrinologists, most Americans said they would like to visit their dentists more often.

This information wasn’t a huge surprise to our dental staff at Bridge Creek Dental, as we see firsthand every day how superior dental care can improve someone’s quality of life. To help you make it into our dental office in 2019, we want to help you overcome your dental visit excuses and help you see why our dental office is the best choice in Billings, Montana.

How To Overcome Your Dental Excuses

There are common excuses people have for not visiting the dentist. Some of them, such as a concern over the cost, is more understandable. To help you work through any excuses you may have to put off seeing our dentists, we have listed the most common reasons people skip their dentist appointments and how to overcome these excuses for the sake of your oral health.

  • “I just don’t have the time to go” – While our lives can become very busy, making time for a biannual, maybe hour-long dental cleaning is more of an issue of mind over matter. Go over your week, and see if there really isn’t any free hour where you can squeeze in a dental visit.
  • “As long as I brush and floss, I don’t need to go” – While we highly encourage good oral care, brushing and flossing isn’t always enough. Coming in for regular dental hygiene care can help ensure your at-home dental care is sufficient, or our dentists can make recommendations to improve on your current routine.
  • “Dental visits make me anxious” – Dental anxiety can be tough to overcome, and you don’t have to do it alone. Our dentists and staff members are more than happy to work with you to help you overcome your dental anxiety. We also offer sedation dentistry to help ease your anxiety.
  • “The dentist is too expensive” – We understand that not all health insurances cover dental care, and that many people don’t have any kind of insurance. With financing options available, we help more people to access dental care. Also, by making it to your biannual dental appointments, problems which could become expensive issues can be caught before they reach that point.

Why Choose Bridge Creek Dental For Your 2019 Dental Care

Here at Bridge Creek Dental, we provide some of the best dental care in the Billings area thanks to our caring and experienced dentists as well as our skilled staff of dental hygienists. We do our best to meet your concerns and help you have an ideal dental visit every time you come to our clinic.

So, if you are ready to receive the best dental care in the Billings, MT area, contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our excellent dentists.

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Tips On How To Fight Gingivitis


Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that presents itself as irritation, redness and swelling on the gingiva, the portion of your gums around the base of your teeth. It’s an uncomfortable condition that should be addressed as soon as possible because it can lead to more serious gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss.

If you suspect you have gingivitis or any other issues with your teeth and gums, you should see your local dentist to nip the problem in the bud. There are also measures you can take at home to ward off gingivitis.

Recognizing Gingivitis

When your gums are in good shape, they should be a pale pink color and fit firmly around your teeth. Gums with gingivitis, by contrast, have a red hue. Your diseased gums are likely to be tender, recede from your teeth and may bleed when you brush or floss. Further, gingivitis can cause bad breath.

Causes Of Gingivitis

The most common reason people get gingivitis is poor dental hygiene, but it’s possible for someone who’s conscientious about brushing and flossing to fall prey to gum disease.

Some people are genetically predisposed to gingivitis, while others develop it after taking certain pharmaceutical drugs or contracting a viral or fungal infection.

Other causes of gingivitis include:

  • Crooked, hard-to-clean teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Hormonal changes like pregnancy or taking birth control pills
  • Immune disorders
  • Old age
  • Poor nutrition, especially vitamin C deficiency
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco

Gingivitis starts when plaque builds up and hardens into a crusty deposit called tartar. Tartar provides a breeding ground for bacteria and also irritates your gum-line, which can lead to inflammation of your gingiva.

Treating Gingivitis

The best treatment for gingivitis is professional dental hygiene care. Your dentist or oral hygienist will scale your teeth and conduct root planing on any exposed roots to remove plaque, bacteria and tartar. Your teeth and gums will also be examined to detect if there are any other problems that need to be addressed.

Preventing Gingivitis

The best treatment for gingivitis is to fend it off by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.
You should also use a soft toothbrush and get a new one every three to four months— earlier if the bristles look worn and frayed. Some people find an electric toothbrush is better at getting rid of plaque and tartar.

It’s recommended that you also get your teeth professionally cleaned at your dentist’s office at least twice a year. Other ways to prevent gingivitis include avoiding tobacco products; using an antimicrobial mouthwash; and supplementing brushing and flossing with the use of an interdental cleaner like a dental pick.

If you want to prevent and reverse gum disease, address issues like cavities or learn how you can beautify and brighten your smile, contact us for an appointment at Bridge Creek Dental.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Why Your Teeth May Hurt In Colder Weather

Colder Weather

Plenty of people with sensitive teeth expect that their teeth will react to hot or cold drinks and food. However, cold weather can hurt the teeth of those who don’t have sensitive teeth.

Our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental wanted to help explain why your teeth may hurt in colder weather and how you can fix the problem.

Winter Causes Changes In Our Teeth

While our teeth have some protection from the elements, when our teeth are exposed to exposed to the cold, they contract in response. Heat has the opposite effect and makes our teeth expand.

This contraction and expansion can cause small cracks in our enamel, leaving bacteria an area to gain a foothold. It can also work cavity fillings and dental crowns loose, leaving you in need of replacement. Setting up one of your bi-annual preventative dental cleanings during a winter month is a great way to catch these issues before they become too serious.

Ways To Correct Cold-Sensitive Teeth

You don’t have to simply live with the pain of cold-sensitive teeth. Some of the best ways to correct this problem are:

  • Sensitive toothpaste – A simple fix you may want to try is switching your toothpaste to specific sensitive toothpaste, which will help protect your teeth from changes in temperature.
  • Sealant treatment – If receding gums are behind your teeth sensitivity, our dentists can help by offering sealant treatment. The sealant will be applied to the exposed roots of your teeth and will help protect your teeth against both tooth decay and cold-sensitivity.
  • Cavity fillings – Replacing your cavity fillings may correct your dental sensitivity. As dental fillings don’t last forever, it is important to have them periodically checked and replaced, which our dentists can do for you.
  • Flouride application – Another way to strengthen your teeth against both cold-sensitivity and tooth decay is with fluoride applications, which adds a strengthening natural mineral to your teeth to boost your enamel’s protection. Our dentists can easily provide you with an application of fluoride and recommend toothpaste with high concentrations of fluoride.
  • Mouthguard – If your teeth are sensitive due to being worn down by grinding them, our dentists can fit you with a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth. Without the grinding motion to continually expose the dentin, you should have less sensitivity to cold weather.

Bridge Creek Dental is dedicated to providing top-quality dental care in Billings, MT. So, if you are looking for a reliable dentist who can help you with all your dental needs, contact us today.

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When Should You Consider Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry exists to help people manage their issues with the dentist. There are several levels of sedation dentistry—minimal, moderate, and deep—so everyone can receive the help they need.

Here at Bridge Creek Dental, we offer sedation dentistry to our patients to help make their dental appointments easier. Whether they struggle with dental anxiety or have physical restrictions which makes a dental appointment nearly impossible, sedation dentistry can help.

Sedation Dentistry Can Help With Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a real issue for many people, especially those who have previously had bad experiences with other dentists. With just minimal sedation dentistry, you can relax as you have your dental work done.

This level of sedation is considered safe for young children, and often can help them overcome their initial fears concerning dental checkups and cleanings. Whether or not your child can undergo sedation dentistry will be determined by their age and weight, so be sure to talk to our dentists if this is an option you would like to explore for your child.

Also, if you choose minimal sedation for your dental appointments, you can drive yourself home after your visit to our office and not have to worry about who will pick you up.

Undergo Multiple Dental Procedures At Once

It can physically and emotionally taxing to undergo multiple dental procedures such as two or more root canals back-to-back. Some people can become more anxious as time goes on while others who have smaller mouths can begin to feel sore and tense up.

With minimal-to-moderate sedation dentistry, you can more easily sit through multiple dental procedures. However, with moderate sedation dentistry, you may be a bit groggy afterward and need help going home.

Consider Sedation Dentistry To Correct Oral Sensitivity

For some dental patients, oral sensitivity can’t be blocked out with local anesthesia. To avoid any pain responses during your dental work, minimal sedation can be used to take that last bit of painful feedback away.

Sedation Dentistry Can Ease Physical Discomfort

If you struggle with sitting still for long periods of time due to physical limitations such as restless leg syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or other issues, sedation dentistry is a good option to explore. Depending on your needs, our dentists may offer anywhere from minimal-to-deep sedation dentistry to help you through your appointment.

So, if you would like assistance with your dental struggles, inform us when you contact us for an appointment. Our dentists will be happy to make the process easier for you.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: When Is The Best Time of Day To Brush Your Teeth?

Brush Your Teeth

We all know the basics of brushing. You should do it in the morning and evening to remove plaque and food particles, stave off bad breath and ward off problems like tartar and tooth decay.

And yet, some questions that remain. Should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast? And are those hygiene enthusiasts we all know—the ones who carry a toothbrush and use it right after every meal and snack—doing themselves a favor?

At Bridge Creek Dental, teeth are our business. With that in mind, here’s our advice on optimal oral hygiene.

You Should Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast

Our a.m. brushing routine is particularly crucial because plaque—a film rife with bacteria—builds up more quickly at night due to the fact we produce less saliva while sleeping.

Many people brush their teeth after breakfast because they figure it’s a one-two punch. You can remove the plaque and ensure no trapped food particles from breakfast remain in your mouth. There are, however, a number of arguments for brushing your teeth before breakfast, with post-pancake adherents including experts like the Mayo Clinic and the National Health Service.

Brushing Before Breakfast Makes For Good Chemistry

When plaque combines with sugar, it forms an acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth. Brushing before eating minimizes this corrosive chemical reaction. Further, if you use fluoride toothpaste it creates an added layer of pre-meal protection.

Brushing your teeth after breakfast may actually be detrimental. Many breakfasts are chock full of acid, sugar and carbs, which, when digested, become sugars. Think foods like sugary cereal and toast and acid-heavy beverages like orange juice and coffee.

Sugars and acid alter the pH level in your mouth, weakening the tooth enamel. If you brush straight away after eating, you run the risk of scraping off this softened enamel. This, in turn, allows acid to penetrate deeper into your teeth.

Avoid Brushing Immediately After Eating

In fact, brushing immediately after any meal can compromise your tooth enamel. This is especially true if you’ve consumed something acidic like citrus fruit or a dish containing tomato sauce, which is heavy in both acid and sugar.

It’s recommended you wait between 30 minutes and an hour after eating before brushing. This lets the pH level in your mouth normalize and your enamel be restored enough to handle brushing.

If you want to make sure there are no food particles on your teeth and your mouth feels fresh after eating, you can swish water around in your mouth, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash or take the opportunity to floss.

You Should Always Brush Your Teeth In The Evening

If people are going to skip one of the two recommended daily brushing, they generally omit their evening brushing. A late night out or tough day can make it tempting to stumble into bed without your usual p.m. oral hygiene routine.

This, however, should be a rare occurrence. Think of it this way: your teeth have had a hard day, too! During the day, plaque builds up on our teeth and so do tiny bits of food accumulated during meals and snacks. If you hit the sack without brushing your teeth, this dental detritus causes bacteria that can weaken your tooth enamel. Further, the food can decay, causing bad breath.

You Should Have Your Teeth Regularly Cleaned At The Dentist

Good dental hygiene extends beyond conscientious home care. You should get your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months or so. Our staff has the tools and expertise to get your pearly whites looking great. And when we peer into your mouth for cleaning purposes, we may be able to detect tooth or gum issues before they become a problem. A professional cleaning includes:

  • Scaling your teeth to remove built-up plaque and/or tartar
  • Root planting to clean any exposed roots that have begun to accumulate plaque or tartar
  • Dental polishing to leave your teeth squeaky clean and gleaming

Our dentists, the best in Billings, Montana, may also recommend further preventative care, like fluoride treatments or dental sealants. At Bridge Creek Dental, we work with you to ensure your teeth are well cared for, remaining in service and looking good when you smile. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Signs That A Root Canal Is Needed

Root Canal

Dentists can generally repair a cavity with a simple filling, but sometimes the decay becomes more advanced, breaching the tooth’s enamel. If the pulp of your tooth—which contains blood vessels, connective tissues and nerve endings—becomes infected, your dentist may recommend a root canal to save your tooth and ward off nerve damage.

During a root canal, the infected pulp is removed and the inner chamber of your tooth is cleaned. The chamber is then filled and the tooth topped with a crown. Only your dentist can determine whether you need a root canal, but there are some signs that can serve as red flags.

Tooth Pain Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

By the time you need a root canal, your tooth’s pulp is severely inflamed. You may experience spontaneous waves of pain with no apparent cause. Other times, pain may be triggered by activities like chewing or touching the offending tooth. You may have trouble sleeping and find little relief from over-the-counter medication.

There are other painful signs that a root canal may be in order. You should make an appointment with our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental if you:

  • Can easily identify which tooth hurts.
  • Experience pain while brushing and flossing.
  • Experience positional pain, with the ache increasing when you lie down, stand up suddenly or jog in place.

Tooth Sensitivity Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

You may need a root canal if a sudden change in temperature prompts a sharp pain in the gums near your problem tooth.

If you experience pain after being exposed to heat, like taking a sip of coffee, it’s may be a sign that there is some nerve damage. If cold food or drink causes lingering pain, even radiating upwards to give you a headache, you also likely have an infection that has breached the pulp of your teeth.

Swelling Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

If you have swelling and discomfort in your gums, it may be a sign your tooth infection has spread to your gums. Tenderness and swelling in your cheeks indicate the infection has spread to your face, while soreness, swelling and drainage in the lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck indicate the tooth infection has spread to your jaw.

An Abscess Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

When your dental pulp becomes infected, your immune system springs into action, sending white blood cells to kill the bacteria. In the ensuing battle, pus—made from white blood cells, dead tissue and bacteria—attempts to drain through the roots of your teeth into your jaw.

The pocket of pus that forms at the root tip can erupt into an abscess on your gums. Similar in appearance to a pimple, it can be white, yellow or red. The pressure and inflammation make an abscess very painful. Signs you may have an abscess include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Swelling in your gums, face or lymph nodes
  • The discharge of pus, which has a bad smell and an unpleasant taste
  • Fever

You should never ignore an abscessed tooth because the infection can enter your bloodstream, which can be life-threatening. Your dentist may recommend a course of antibiotics as well as a root canal.

Tooth Discoloration Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

Tooth discoloration, with the teeth taking on a gray or black appearance, is just one more indication that an infection inside your tooth has spurred internal tissue breakdown.

If you suspect you need a root canal or want preventative care to ward off tooth infections, contact us today to schedule an examination.

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How Long Should My Teeth Hurt After A Filling?


After you receive a dental filling from one of our dentists, you can feel confident that our dentists have addressed the tooth decay and you are well on your way to recovery. However, directly after you have received the filling, there may be a certain amount of residual pain.

Pain From Dental Fillings Should Be Short-Term

If you do experience pain after you have had a dental filling, you don’t need to worry. This discomfort is a common occurrence and generally does not signal that anything is wrong with the filling our dentists placed.

For most people, any dental pain from their filling goes away over the course of a few days up to a couple of weeks. If you have any concerns, you are welcome to make another appointment with our dentists at Castle Rock Dental.

Potential Causes Of Dental Pain Post-Filling

There can be several potential causes that have triggered you to feel pain around your dental filling.

  • Altered bite – A filling can change how you bite down. Often, the difference will be quickly forgotten, but if you find it uncomfortable, you can come in and have one of our dentists shape your filling.
  • Referred pain – The nerves in your teeth are all tightly interwoven, and while your tooth with the filling may not feel pain, your surrounding teeth may experience pain. This discomfort should go away with time.
  • Pulpitis – The process of removing tooth decay can cause the pulp of your tooth to become inflamed and potentially infected if not all the decayed tooth tissue is removed before the filling is placed. Sometimes, all you need is time for this issue to go away. If you notice your gum swelling, it is best to come into our dental clinic to ensure you don’t need a root canal.
  • Varying material – If you have varying dental materials in your mouth such as a gold crown and a silver filling, you may experience an uncomfortable sensation when these materials make contact.
  • Allergic reaction – While rare, some people experience allergic reactions to their dental filling. If there is itching or a rash appears, our dentists can redo the filling with a different material.

Ways To Alleviate Dental Filling Discomfort

You don’t have to just suffer through discomfort caused by your dental filling. Some of the things you can do to alleviate the pain are:

  • Be extra-gentle as you brush and floss
  • Avoid cold or hot foods for a few days to a week
  • Skip any acidic foods and drinks
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • Chew food opposite of your filling

Whether you are looking to have a simple filling placed or cosmetic dentistry performed, you can come to our dentists at Castle Rock Dental in Billings, MT. For an appointment with our excellent dentists, contact us today.

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Why You Should Get Your Teeth Whitened By A Dentist

Patient getting teeth whitened at dentist

Even those of us who brush and floss regularly can develop tooth discoloration that detracts from the quality of our smile.

Regular visits to the dentist for cleaning can help keep your teeth free of plaque and tartar build-up and give your dental hygienist a chance to spot issues like gingivitis or oral cancer. The most thorough scraping and polishing, however, isn’t enough to brighten severely yellowed or stained teeth.

For that kind of smile transformation, you need teeth whitening, just one of the many cosmetic dentistry services performed by our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental.

There Are Two Main Types of Tooth Discoloration

There are two main types of tooth discoloration. Depending on what type is affecting your teeth will determine what can be done to lighten them.

Extrinsic discoloration involves stains on the outer layer of the tooth, resulting from behaviors like:

  • Drinking coffee, tea or wine
  • Eating certain foods, like berries
  • Smoking

A good professional polish may be enough to remove this type of stain.

Intrinsic discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth, called dentin, becomes yellow or darkens. This type of discoloration can have a host of causes, including genetic factors or exposure to certain medications.

The most common reason for intrinsic discoloration, however, is age. Dentin naturally yellows over time. Meanwhile, the enamel covering our teeth thins out as we get older, causing the dentin to show through.

If you have intrinsic discoloration or the stains on the outside of your teeth are particularly stubborn, you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening.

Drugstore Teeth Whiteners Can Harm Your Teeth And Gums

When people become self-conscious about the color of their teeth, their first impulse is often to see what’s on hand at their local drugstore or in the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store.

The problem is that over-the-counter teeth whitening kits often include abrasive substances that can damage your tooth enamel. You can experience gum soreness if you leave whitening strips or gels on longer than suggested. And over-whitening can make your teeth look discolored or translucent, certainly not the effect you’re aiming for!

Our Dentists Can Whiten Your Teeth More Effectively

Teeth whitening performed by professionals like the dentists at Bridge Creek Dental is far safer. For one thing, it’s a relatively simple process. One of our dentists applies a bleaching substance to your teeth, which is then activated by a special light. The procedure is carefully monitored throughout by our doctors, who understand how to protect your teeth and the state of your enamel.

The teeth whitening gel used by our dentists is far stronger than any you can buy yourself, making in-office whitening significantly more effective than do-it-yourself options. In fact, our patients commonly find their teeth are a minimum of three shades lighter after a single treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about teeth whitening procedures or any other dental service, contact Bridge Creek Dental at (406) 652-1600 for a consultation. We look forward to serving you!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

There is conflicting information on how long dental implants last. Some sources say 10-15 years, while others say a lifetime. Our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental wanted to set the record straight and clarify how your dental implant can potentially last 10-15 years and a lifetime at the same time!

Various Factors Effect How Long Dental Implants Last

As a single dental implant is made up of three different parts, the crown, abutment, and implant post. These three parts can have varying lifespans, depending on the care given to your overall oral hygiene.

  • Crown – The crown of your dental implant will typically last around 10-15 years. This lifespan is average for a crown used in other dental procedures such as root canals and bridges. Depending on how much wear and tear your teeth undergo and your attention to your oral hygiene, the crown can outlive its 10- to 15-year average lifespan.
  • Abutment – As the crown usually encases the abutment, its lifespan is generally dependent on the crown’s lifespan, making the abutment’s lifespan about 10-15 years. However, if it becomes exposed by receding gums, it can become damaged sooner and cause you to need both a new crown and abutment.
  • Implant post – With its fusion with the jawbone, the titanium implant post is the most durable part of your implant. With proper care, your implant post can last your entire life!

Potential Causes Behind Dental Implant Failure

There are situations that can cause the dental implant to fail altogether and not just its separate parts. Some of the potential causes behind total dental implant failure are:

  • Periodontal disease – As periodontal disease is a serious gum disease, it is not surprising that it can cause your mouth to reject the implant as the disease progresses.
  • Peri-implantitis – Unlike periodontal disease, which affects all of your gums, peri-implantitis is when just the bone and gums around your dental implant become inflamed due to overly hard biting forces or localized bacterial infection. Left untreated, it can cause the implant to fail.
  • Diabetes – Patients who have diabetes have a higher risk of gum infection. Any gum infection can increase the risk of dental implant failure and other complications, such as gum recession, which can expose the implant.
  • Facial trauma – Your dental implant crown can be shattered by facial trauma, or the whole implant can be knocked out with severe facial trauma. Bone grafting would likely need to take place before another dental implant could be placed if you lost your original one to facial trauma.  
  • Poor oral hygiene – Dental implants will look and act just as your natural teeth do, and they will need the same careful care. Do be careful flossing around them, as floss can potentially become trapped between where the crown and implant meet.  

Where You Can Receive Dental Implants In Billings, MT

If you are interested in receiving dental implants and you live in Billings, Montana, or the surrounding towns, contact us for an appointment. One of our dentists will consult with you, and if you choose to go forward with your dental implant after the consultation, we will be happy to help you achieve your perfect smile.

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