What Are Dental Implants?

What Are Dental Implants?

A: Dental implants are root-shaped implants made of titanium to replace the roots of missing teeth. Dental implants can hold a crown on top of them or they can hold a full arch of teeth. It depends on the situation and how many teeth are missing.

Dental implants in DC are the closest replacement to natural teeth. In fact, they’re identical in form, function, and feel. The dental implant procedure has come a long way over the decades and has helped today’s process become extremely easy. The procedure by design is painless and gives you a perfect smile that lasts for a lifetime.

Breaking Down Dental Implants In DC

There are 3 main components to what is referred to as “dental implants.” There is the implant itself, the abutment, and either a restorative crown or arch depending on your needs.

The Implant

The implant is a titanium post that is like a screw, with a threaded end that’s inserted into the jaw. The threading is key as it helps keep the implant in your jawbone for the next phase. After placement, your jawbone bonds with this implant through a biological process called osseointegration. This is the key feature of dental implants as that bonding preserves your jawbone.

Abutment

The abutment is a connector that slips inside the hollow end of the implant situated flush with the gumline. The abutment is critical as it is the connector that attaches the arch or crown to the implant with small, hidden screws to keep it tight. Sometimes abutments are angled slightly to accommodate different patients.

Arch or Crown

This is often called a prosthesis or a restoration as well. A crown is a single tooth, and an arch is a full upper or lower set of teeth. They are carefully designed to be a perfect, custom fit for your natural teeth. They are designed to look indistinguishable from natural teeth and to be just as durable.

 

Why Would Someone Need Dental Implants In DC?

Dental implants, as mentioned, are just like natural teeth in every regard with the exception that they won’t decay. Now, that’s not to say you can forego oral hygiene as you can still develop gum disease if you neglect your oral care.

There are many reasons to need or want dental implants instead of dentures or nothing at all.

To Replace Missing Teeth

Tooth loss happens for several reasons such as decay, periodontal disease, radiation treatment, drug use, or dental trauma. Many patients choose dental implants to simply replace their teeth, which is the most obvious reason. However, there are several other reasons to get dental implants in DC that patients often overlook.

To Eat Properly

When you have missing teeth you can’t chew your food effectively. Dentures help a little but only give you a quarter of your natural bite strength. Dental implants on the other hand give you full bite strength and allow you to eat as you always have.

Restore Confidence

When patients lose teeth or have an unsightly smile, they tend to face severe image issues and social anxiety. They usually end up introverted and isolating themselves from friends and even family. When they get dental implants in DC—they have a strong, bright, perfect smile. It’s an instant confidence boost.

Preserve Jawbone Structure

When a tooth decays and falls out or is lost to other causes, the jawbone suffers too. When there is no stimulation by a tooth root, the jawbone begins to weaken, eventually disintegrating. This can leave a patient with a face that looks quite different than before— sunken in and such. Dental implants keep that jawbone strong and  facial structure intact.

What Is The Dental Implant Procedure Like?

The first thing that is done is an initial consultation to determine if you’re able to get dental implants. Imaging such as a 3D CT scan is administered so Dr. Nahlah can get an in-depth look at your jawbone structure and teeth. Then a consultation ensues where you can ask questions and Dr. Nahlah can tell you what you can expect. All treatment plans are completely personalized to your specific needs and circumstances.

During the surgery, any remaining decaying teeth are extracted to make room for the implants. If it’s just a single tooth, then it would be that one tooth. If it’s an arch, then whatever teeth are still intact will be extracted and replaced with implants.

Single Implant: If the surrounding gum or bone tissue is infected, we must first remove that infection. When the extraction site is free of infection, the implant will be placed and needs anywhere from 3-6 months to fully bond. After that, the abutment and crown are secured onto the implant permanently.

Full Arch: Once any remainders are extracted and any residual infection is eradicated, the bone is smoothed around the site. Then, the implants are inserted into the jawbone and secured. Lastly, the abutments are fastened on and the prosthesis is permanently mounted. Many full arch surgeries such as our All On Four procedure can be done in a single day.

How Long Do Full Mouth Dental Implants Take?

The actual procedure takes one day. However, before the procedure, there is preliminary work that must be done. Dr. Nahlah will need 3D imaging, there may be bone grafting required or other considerations. If special circumstances are a factor, it could delay the process by a few months. However, most of the time the procedure is completed in one day.  

Common Questions About Dental Implant Surgery

Often, during the consultation phase, patients ask quite a few great questions that we are eager to answer. You must be well informed so, we encourage questions from patients. Consequently, we get quite a few recurring questions from different patients.

Is Dental Implant Surgery Painful?

There is no pain during the procedure— mainly because you are under general anesthesia. When the procedure is over, you’re still under the anesthesia and we will numb your mouth. This numbing medicine is long-lasting and will give several hours of pain prevention. We also prescribe you pain medication, however, most patients don’t end up needing it.

What Can I Eat Afterwards?

After your implant surgery, we put you on a soft diet for a brief time to allow the implant sites to heal well. We recommend staying on the soft diet for as long as you can to further advance the healing process. Soft diet food consists of food such as:

  • Fruits & Vegetables such as bananas, green beans, peas, canned peaches, plums, and mashed potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Fish filet (no bones)
  • Soup with small tender bits of meat
  • Softer bread, biscuits, tortillas, pita
  • Pasta and rice
  • Ice cream, yogurt, pudding
  • When in doubt—anything easily cut with just a fork

Chewy foods, however, such as steak, or foods that put excessive pressure on teeth such as apples need to be avoided. Additionally, stay away from seeds, popcorn, strawberries, these particles can get lodged within. That can eventually lead to an infection and possibly result in implant failure.

How long until I can eat normally again?

You should expect a full, safe return to normal foods after about 5-6 months of unhindered healing. By this time, it is safe to say the implants have bonded completely with your jawbone.

Looking To Get Your Smile Back With Implants?

If you are tired of hiding your smile due to dental trauma, tooth decay, or just bad teeth in general, let us help you. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation with Dr. Nahlah about how dental implants can change your life.