If you are missing one tooth or several, dental implants are an ideal way to restore health, beauty and functionality to your smile. Dental implants mimic the natural structure of your tooth’s root, optimizing your ability to chew, eat and speak with complete confidence.
At Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles, we place dental implants right in our office to ensure you receive the consistent, quality dental care you expect and deserve from our skilled dentists. To schedule your free dental implant consultation in Arlington, Virginia, please call 703-527-1020. To book a free consultation in South Riding, please call 703-327-7705.
On this page, we have provided information regarding a number of dental implant-related topics, such as:
- What are dental implants?
- Benefits of dental implants
- Are dental implants right for me?
- The dental implant process
- What to expect after your dental implant surgery
- Mini dental implants
- Implant-supported dentures
- All-on-4 implants
- Implant-supported bridges
- How much do dental implants cost?
- Schedule your free dental implant consultation today
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a missing tooth, comprising three separate components:
- A titanium post, implanted directly into the bone
- A porcelain crown or other prosthesis
- A connecting device that attached the crown to the implant, called an abutment
Unlike other tooth-replacement options, dental implants replace the root of the missing tooth as well as the crown. This makes implants a durable, enduring and ideal alternative to conventional replacement methods. Dental implants also help to keep your jawbone healthy and strong as it supports your new artificial tooth.
Dental implants offer a number of benefits, including:
- Longevity: By maintaining proper hygiene, most people can enjoy their dental implants for a lifetime.
- Beauty: Implant-supported crowns, dentures and bridges can be made with beautiful, natural-looking ceramic materials.
- Integration: Once the implant is placed, bone tissue grows around the post, securing it firmly for a seamless integration.
- Comfort: Unlike alternative treatments that can shift or require adhesive agents, dental implants look and feel just like normal teeth.
- Independence: Since they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants will not damage existing teeth.
- Convenience: Dental implants can be cleaned and cared for just like your normal teeth.
Dental implants have an incredibly high success rate. You won’t need to worry about increased decay or sensitivity.
There are relatively few requirements for being a good candidate for dental implants. To ensure your treatment is successful, you should:
- Have healthy gums
- Be in generally good health
- Have adequate bone structure in your jaw.
There are some situations in which preparatory procedures may need to be performed. For example, you may need to undergo periodontal treatment or have a bone graft to strengthen your natural jaw bone prior to the implant process.
Other conditions may also affect your candidacy for dental implants, such as:
- Severe teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Chronic disease, such as diabetes
- Heavy smoking and an unwillingness to quit
- A jawbone that has not yet reached its full adult size
While these conditions will need to be considered, they do not necessarily exclude you from dental implant treatment. Our dentists will assess your situation and determine which dental strategy best suits your goals, budget and lifestyle.
Dental implant surgery includes the following elements:
- The damaged tooth is removed.
- The jawbone is prepared for surgery (bone grafting may be required).
- Once the jawbone fully heals, the dental implant post is positioned within it.
- A several-month recuperation period elapses.
- The abutment, the device that connects the implant to the crown or other prosthetic device, is attached.
- The crown or prosthetic is attached.
The complete process for dental implants can take a few months, several months or even longer, depending on the circumstances of your situation. Much of the process time is spent waiting for bone growth (osseointegration) and healing.
The process of osseointegration starts when the implant is inserted into your jawbone, as the bone grows around the post to secure it naturally in place. This process can last several months. In the same way that roots support your natural teeth, osseointegration provides a sturdy foundation for your artificial tooth.
Placing the Implant
Implant placement is a surgical procedure performed in our office. During this procedure, your gum will be opened with an incision, exposing the jawbone. Small holes are drilled into the jaw where the implant posts will be placed. The post will then be implanted in your jawbone, acting as the artificial equivalent of your tooth’s natural root.
At this point, a gap will be left in your teeth. For the sake of aesthetics, a temporary denture can be placed at this time. You will remove this denture for cleaning each night while you sleep.
Placing the Abutment
Once the process of osseointegration is complete, the abutment is usually placed in a second procedure. The abutment is the connecting device between the implant and dental crown. When placing he abutment:
- An incision is made to expose the implant
- The abutment is placed
- Gum tissue is closed around, but not over, the abutment
In many cases, the abutment can be attached when the implant is placed. When this occurs, a second surgery is not necessary. However, in these instances, the abutment is left exposed above the gum line during the healing process and is visible every time you open your mouth. For this reason, many patients choose to attach the abutment in a later procedure for aesthetic purposes.
Your dental implant procedure will be customized to your individual needs. However, as with any surgery, there are some common experiences associated with the procedure you should expect, such as:
- Discomfort around the area of the incision
- Minor bleeding
You will be given detailed pre and post-operative instructions from our dentists to ensure your surgery and recovery go as smoothly as possible. Our dentists will be sure to take the time to answer all of your questions and discuss your concerns.
If you are not an appropriate candidate for dental implant surgery, our dentists may recommend mini dental implants. Some differences between mini dental implants and traditional implants include:
- While still solid, mini implants do not contain a screw
- Mini dental implants are less expensive
- If implant failure occurs, grafting is not necessary
- A mini implant is half the width of a conventional one
If you’ve ever worn dentures, you are probably already aware of their shortcomings. Dentures often shift in the mouth and agitate your gums. They involve strict food restrictions and messy adhesives. Implanted-supported dentures, however, can provide a level of stability, comfort and functionality that traditional dentures simply cannot.
While a single implant usually supports just one crown, multiple implants can reinforce a complete denture prosthesis and restore a lifelike smile.
Some of the many benefits of implant-supported dentures include:
- Improved ability to speak
- No need for denture adhesives
- Natural-looking smile
- Better chewing function
- Comfortable fit
Dental implants are not the right solution for every patient. At your initial consultation with one of our experienced dentists, the condition of your oral health and implant candidacy will be assessed. We are committed to providing you with the smile you desire; if implants are not an appropriate option, we will help you determine which alternative treatment will help you achieve your goals.
If you need to replace a full arch of missing teeth and lack adequate bone structure for other procedures, All-on-4 implants may be an ideal solution. The All-on-4 process uses four dental implants to support a full set of replacement teeth. The rearmost implants are placed at an angle to maximize your existing bone structure, often without the need for a bone graft.
Benefits of the All-on-4 procedure include:
- Long-lasting results
- Eliminates many of the hassles that accompany removable dentures
- Allows you to enjoy all the foods you like
- Daily oral hygiene is easy
- Often eliminates the need for bone grafting
- Implants and new teeth can be placed in a single office visit
When you need to replace one tooth or a couple of teeth, a dental implant is usually the appropriate solution. When you need to replace an entire row of teeth, implant-supported dentures are often the ideal choice. However, for situations that lie somewhere in the middle, when several teeth need to be replaced but not an entire arch, implanted-supported bridges may be the perfect treatment. The process is similar to that of a dental implant, but rather than a single support root and crown, our dentists will place several titanium posts to support the bridge.
There are a number of factors involved in the dental implant process and the cost varies from person to person. Considerations such as the number of implants needed, the type of prosthesis being attached and whether or not bone grafting is required all play vital roles in the cost of dental implant surgery. The best way to gain a clear estimate of what your procedure will entail and cost is to meet personally with one of our experienced dentists. During your initial consultation you will receive a thorough examination and cost estimate for your circumstances.
To find out more about dental implants and your candidacy for the procedure, please call us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced dentists. If you live in Arlington, please call Arlington Dental Aesthetics at 703-527-1020. If you live in South Riding, Virginia, please call South Riding Smiles at 703-327-7705.