Dental Implants 101: Everything You Need to Know

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Originally Published May 3rd, 2018

At Lansdowne and Herndon Smile Design, Dr. Amirreza Rafaat offers many smile-improving services to enhance the appearance of your pearly whites. But what if you’re missing one or more of your natural teeth and are afraid to smile?

Many people who have lost teeth due to disease, decay, or injury stop smiling and start hiding their mouth in social situations. Lost teeth also mean difficulty chewing food and speaking clearly. Luckily, Dr. Rafaat is highly experienced in dental implant procedures and is ready to restore your smile and your self-confidence.

What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are a permanent way to restore missing teeth. The implant is a titanium rod that Dr. Rafaat implants into your jawbone in the area of a missing tooth. A natural-looking, artificial tooth is then crafted to resemble the color and shape of your natural teeth and attached to the rod.

Here’s everything else you need to know about dental implants and how they can change your life.

No frills maintenance
Once the implant is successfully completed, you take care of it just like you do your natural teeth, brushing and flossing daily and scheduling regular dental checkups. You regain your ability to chew and speak properly and you’ll be proud to show off your new smile.

It feels natural
Once your mouth has time to heal, your new dental implant will look and feel like your other teeth. They are designed to work like your other teeth, although they are more durable and decay-resistant.

You can chew foods that you haven’t been able to enjoy since you lost your tooth without worry of breakage or discomfort.

Implants are permanent
Unlike other tooth replacement alternatives, such as dentures and bridges, dental implants are permanently attached to your jaw bone. This means you have the added security of knowing your teeth will remain in place when speaking or chewing.

Good for your bite
When you’re missing teeth, you may overcompensate by chewing food on the other side of your mouth or using your front teeth. This can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your remaining teeth and throw off your bite.

By getting dental implants, you can keep your jaw properly aligned and prevent additional medical complications from causing you pain and further dental work.

Prevents bone loss
Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that actually helps stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss. The titanium rod Dr. Rafaat implants into your jawbone causes new bone to grow around it. This permanently sets the new root for your tooth.

Prolonged tooth loss can actually cause bone to deteriorate away. That’s why replacing your lost tooth is so important. Getting dental implants as soon as possible after losing a tooth helps prevent bone loss at the site.

Don’t expect fast treatment
Before deciding if dental implants are right for you, understand that while highly effective at replacing missing teeth, a dental implant is not a quick-fix procedure.

Dental implants happen in several phases. First, Dr. Rafaat must evaluate your oral health to determine if implants are right for you. If he feels they will be a good fit for your needs, he may need to prepare your mouth and jawbone to hold the implant before inserting the rod by building up your jawbone.

When the rod is finally in place, you’ll need several months of healing time to allow your jawbone to fuse with the rod. This provides your new tooth with permanent stability. It can take several months from start to finish before you see your final results. However, having a new, durable, natural-looking tooth may be well worth the wait.

Not everyone is a candidate
While there are steps Dr. Rafaat can take to improve your jawbone to support an implant, you may still not be a candidate for the procedure.

Certain chronic medical conditions, such as leukemia and diabetes, can reduce your ability to heal correctly following the implantation of the rod. Dr. Rafaat can review your medical history to determine if pre-existing illnesses make it difficult to support a dental implant.

If you smoke, you may be at risk of certain oral diseases that can reduce the success of a long-term dental implant.

You can relax in the office
Dental implant surgery is an outpatient, in-office procedure that can be completed under local anesthesia. You won’t have to worry about the risks of general anesthesia and can resume your normal activities within a day or two after the procedure.

Any discomfort or swelling following the rod implant can be relieved by prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Long-term investment return
Initially, the cost of dental implants can seem quite high when compared to the alternatives. However, in the long run, you can save more money with implants than having to pay for repeated dental services, such as crown and bridge repairs, denture replacements, and corrective dental services if your bite shifts out of alignment.

If you’re interested in dental implants, Dr. Rafaat can discuss all your concerns and questions during your consultation at Lansdowne and Herndon Smile Design. Contact us today to book your appointment at either our Leesburg or Herndon, Virginia locations.

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