Dental implants are a life-changing breakthrough in the field of oral surgery. They are specifically designed to provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth that very closely match the look, feel, and the functionality of your natural teeth. An individual who has lost their teeth can regain the ability to eat almost anything, while taking comfort in knowing that their teeth appear natural, and that the contours of their face will be preserved, and it’s because of this, our Washington DC dental implant patients smile with confidence.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are, themselves, tiny titanium “roots”, or posts, that act as an actual tooth root replacement. These are surgically placed into the jawbone wherever there are missing teeth. These titanium anchors operate as substitutes for a tooth root. The jawbone actually bonds with this titanium root, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Posts that stick out above the gums are then attached to the main titanium implant part in the jawbone. These posts act as the anchor for the artificial replacement teeth.
Another great thing about dental implants, is that they prevent the jawbone from actually deteriorating, which occurs where teeth are not present in the mouth. This helps to preserve the structure of your face.
The Two-Phase Implant Procedure
The placement of dental implants usually requires two surgical procedures. In the first procedure, the titanium implants are placed into your jawbone. During the first three to six months, after that surgery, the dental implants are underneath the surface of the gums, gradually becoming bonded with the jawbone. During this time, you should be able to wear some sort of temporary denture, and be able to eat a diet consisting of soft foods. Throughout this period, your dentist is forming the new, replacement teeth.
Once the titanium implant has thoroughly bonded to the jawbone, the second part of the implant procedure is begun. Dr. Virginia Lee will bring you back into the office, uncover the implants (which were under the gums), and attach small posts that will stick out through the gums, acting as anchors for the artificial teeth. When those artificial teeth are secured to the posts, the posts will not be able to be seen. The whole process usually will take around six to eight months to complete. Most of our patients experience only minimal disruption in their daily lives.
The whole implant process are a joint effort, between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Lee is performing the implant surgery, the initial extractions of teeth, and any necessary bone grafting, the restorative dentist (the dentist you go to for regular oral care), models and creates the permanent prosthesis (a prosthesis is essentially an artificial part of your body, or in this case, your mouth). Your regular dentist will also create any temporary prosthesis you may need, during the whole dental implant process.
What Kinds Of Prosthesis Are There?
Single prostheses (crowns) are used to replace a single tooth that is missing – each individual prosthetic tooth is attached to its own implant. Partial prostheses (fixed bridges), may replace two or more teeth, where each tooth replacement does not have it’s own individual implant. Complete dental prostheses (fixed bridges) can replace the entire arch of teeth, top and bottom. The amount of implants used varies, all depending on which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. Removable prostheses (over dentures) attach to a kind of bar, or a ball in socket attachment, where fixed prostheses are permanent and can only be removed by a dentist.
Dr. Virginia Lee regularly performs in-office dental implant surgeries in a hospital-style operating suite, optimizing the sterility level. Bone grafting also can be done to optimize the amount of bone available for implants to be placed into.
Why Use Dental Implants?
After learning about dental implants, you can finally see there is a way to improve your quality of life. After losing several teeth- whether that has just happened, or you’ve lived with missing several teeth for years – chances are high that you’ve never fully become accustomed to the loss of such vital parts to yourself (the teeth).
Dental implants can be your gateway to a fully renewed confidence in yourself, and peace of mind.
This concept for oral rehabilitation was developed by a Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon by the name of Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, over 35 years ago. He did pioneering research which opened the doors wide to a whole lifetime of renewed comfort, and a renewed confidence for millions of people facing both the frustrating factors, and the embarrassment that attends tooth loss.
Why Choose Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Tooth Replacement?
The reasons why you would choose dental implants are many: Firstly, why would you sacrifice the structure of your surrounding good teeth in order to bridge a space (which you would need to do for a dental bridge). Additionally, removing a denture, or a “partial” during the night can be very inconvenient, not even taking into account the fact that dentures can slip causing discomfort and embarrassment.
Are You A Candidate For the Placement of Dental Implants in Washington DC?
If you’ve been thinking about dental implants, and considering them as an option for your smile restoration, we must first thoroughly examine your mouth, and your complete dental history needs to be reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for the placement of implants, there are ways, such as bone grafting, that may be recommended, which would improve the outcome.
Types Of Anesthesia Used
Dental implants may be performed in our office under either local, or general anesthesia for your comfort.
Do Implants Require Special Care?
After the dental implants are placed, they will function and serve you well for many years, as long as you take proper care of them, and keep your mouth clean and healthy. Take the time out you need for good oral hygiene (brushing your teeth and flossing), and keep regular dental appointments with your dentist or dental specialist.
For more information on how we can help bring back your full and natural looking smile, and to schedule a FREE consultation, give us a call at (202) 296-6600 today. We look forward to hearing from you!
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