Whether you were born without one tooth or several teeth, lost a tooth due to genetics or an accident, or have teeth that are naturally decaying, dental implant placement is an option worth considering. The following will answer your most pressing questions related to dental implants and will leave you confident in proceeding with a consultation.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacements for missing teeth that incorporate a small screw into your jaw with a crown fixed onto the end. Dental implants are the latest innovation in dental treatments and considered a preferred treatment by dentists. They are rapidly becoming known by dentists and researchers as the most effective replacement for your natural teeth due to their strength, durability, and beauty.
What occurs in the initial consultation?
Before we can begin the procedure it is necessary to come in for a consultation at our Washington, D.C. office to ensure you are an eligible candidate for dental implants. This is determined by taking x-rays. Being an eligible candidate simply means that there is little chance of your body rejecting the implant. Implants, made of titanium, need to fuse to the natural bone in your jaw to become a permanent part of your mouth. Rejection can happen to some people because of the presence of certain medical conditions, or because of insufficient bone under their gum. Patients with these conditions should consider the Versah procedure we offer- more about Versah below.
What alternatives are there if I lack enough bone in my jaw for dental implants?
Not to worry if you are not an eligible candidate for dental implants, you may qualify for our Versah procedure. Versah works through a process called osseodensification, where bone is compressed using a series of tools. First, a small space will be made in your jaw using a pilot drill. Next, a tool that facilitates osseodensification by densifying bone through compaction will be used. This allows Dr. Hoang to use a series of attachments to slowly make the space in your jaw bigger while the surrounding bone compacts. This helps your bone slowly densify. Versah helps preserve bone while expanding your ridge to ensure your dental implant has the best chance for success. Further information on this procedure can be found in here.
I’m a good candidate for dental implants, what does the procedure entail?
The next step is the surgical placement of the titanium implant or post that will eventually hold the artificial tooth (the crown).
Your mouth must heal before the crown can be placed. There are actually several different types of implants, and which type is used in your case will depend on the amount of jawbone you have and other factors. The healing time between the placement of the implant and the attachment of the crown can be affected by the type of implant, your overall health, your age and your compliance with the instructions you receive after the implant is placed. A temporary crown can be placed immediately so that you can go home with a tooth in place the same day that you get the implant.
After your mouth has healed, a connector piece called an abutment is attached to the top of the implant, and then the crown is attached.
Once you have your permanent crown, taking care of your teeth is the same as always. Your new implant acts like the roots of your natural teeth, while the crown is sturdy and can last a lifetime. Like a natural tooth, the crown is not indestructible and could be damaged or break, but with proper care it will function like and be as strong as the rest of your teeth. With the ability to color match the crown to your other teeth, it should be indistinguishable from them and look completely natural.
How long do the implants last?
There are two things to consider here: the dental implant itself and the crown. Both of which contribute to your new and beautiful smile. With proper care (brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist regularly) the actual implant should last you a lifetime. There is a 95% success rate as long as the implant doesn’t become loose, damaged, or infected. On the other hand, crowns will need to be replaced every 15 years or so. Overall dental implants reduce the number of dental visits compared to dentures. Another thing to note is that the rear teeth of your mouth wear more than the front so they will most likely have to be replaced sooner.
What can impact the life of your dental implant?
As stated above, proper care of your implants the same way you do with the rest of your teeth is crucial in maintaining that smile. However, gum disease could affect your gum tissue and cause the implant to loosen—as well as chewing on objects like pencils or ice that can damage your dental crown. Making your implant last will include regular dentist visits, proper care of your smile, and giving up smoking to keep your implants at their healthiest!
Why choose dental implants over dentures?
Dental implants have become popular if you are missing a tooth or two, however, dental implants can replace dentures if several teeth are missing. Unlike implants that are surgically placed in the jawbone, dentures are false removable teeth. Dentures can slip out of place and increase your risk for infection and decay in other teeth when not fitted properly. Dental implants are essentially permanent with proper care; however, dentures must be replaced every 5-15 years. Dental implants have a convenience and confidence factor that dentures can’t beat.
Are dental implants costly?
Dental implants are very affordable when considering the long- term cost, the effectiveness, and the overall quality of the implants. Other alternatives have smaller upfront costs but in the long run require many more costly replacements. Dental implants are competitively priced with the alternatives considering the convenience, the effectiveness, and that smile for a lifetime. Contact our Washington, D.C. practice to book an appointment for our free 3D exam to determine if dental implants are right for you.