Dr. Joseph A. Catanzano III, DDS, provides dental implants in Washington, D.C. A dental implant is a restorative dentistry option made of a titanium post that is surgically implanted into the jaw bone to replace the root of a missing tooth. When fully integrated with the bone, the dental implant will provide stability and support for a replacement tooth. A dental implant can support a single missing tooth, multiple teeth, or a denture.
The Makeup of Dental Implants
A dental implant is made up of three separate parts. First, a titanium implant post is a piece that the dentist places in your jawbone. It fuses with the bone, providing extra stability. Next, the dentist attaches an abutment to the implant post. It connects the implant post to the final restoration for your implant. Dental implants support a variety of restorations that depend on your needs. A dental crown, bridge, or fixed denture can all be used.
Benefits of Dental Implants in Washington, D.C.
Preventing Jawbone Loss and Improving Oral Health
Implants offer multiple benefits to patients. They’re considered the gold standard of tooth replacement. Most other tooth replacement solutions just replace the surface crown, but implants replace the tooth root as well. This helps to halt jawbone degeneration that occurs when you’re missing a tooth root. The instant that root is gone, the bone in the area begins to deteriorate.
Without the restoration, the jawbone continues to deteriorate. The remaining teeth around the gap will start to shift and fill in that gap, taking them out of their proper alignment. When your jawbone deteriorates, you also experience sagging of the skin around that area. The facial muscles rely on teeth and jawbone structure to fill out the area. Without that structure, nothing is holding it up. Facial sagging causes your face to age prematurely and adds years to the look of your face.
When you’re missing teeth, the others surrounding them are more likely to suffer from tooth decay. Patients with missing teeth are also at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Replacing missing teeth helps to deter these things from happening. It also keeps your bite properly aligned. If some teeth take on more pressure than others, they’re more likely to break or crack under the pressure. Uneven bites are also causes of TMJ disorders.
Looking and Feeling Natural
Dental implants both look and feel the most like your natural teeth. Because the implant post replaces the tooth root, you get back almost 100% of your bite function. You can still eat a varied, balanced diet. Dentures and other restorations aren’t equipped to bite and chew certain foods. However, with dental implants, you don’t have to eliminate anything from your diet. You’re able to eat any of the foods you desire.
A dental implant can be completed with a custom dental crown, bridge, or denture. When we craft the final restoration, it’s specially designed for you. It matches the size, shape, and shade of the rest of your teeth, blending in with your smile perfectly. People won’t even be able to tell that they aren’t your real teeth.
The maintenance for implants is minimal too. You simply have to take care of them like you would your natural teeth. They don’t require messy adhesives or special care like dentures or other removable restorations. You just have to brush, floss, and visit the dentist like you would normally. We just recommend that you use soft toothbrushes and non-abrasive toothpaste so that you don’t scratch or damage the restoration.
Patients who are not typical candidates for dental implants can benefit from a bone graft. Dental implants rely on bone tissue to support the titanium post. However, patients who have lost one or more teeth may not have tooth roots or enough healthy bone tissue.
A bone grafting procedure is sometimes needed to prepare for a new restoration, whether that includes dental implants or an implant-secured bridge or denture. Different types of bone grafts may be performed after a tooth extraction to maintain the shape of the jawbone. Other grafting methods may address significant bone loss.
Dental Implants Treatment in Washington D.C.
Dr. Catanzano coordinates the surgical placement of the implant with a local specialist. The specialist inserts the implant into the jawbone. It typically takes three to six months for the implant to heal and fully integrate with the jawbone. In some cases, we will place the dental crown during this visit. Other times, the dentist places a provisional crown while the implant heals.
After healing, Dr. Catanzano will attach the dental crown, bridge, or denture. Your restoration will look and function similarly to your natural teeth. You can brush and floss normally. Routine visits to the dentist will ensure the long-term health and function of the dental implant.
Dental Implant FAQs
Do dental implants hurt?
An anesthetic numbs the treatment area during the dental implant procedure. Dental implants also require a healing period of 3 to 6 months, during which they fuse with bone tissue in the jaw. You may feel some pain after the treatment, and you should call our office if your pain exceeds several days.
How long do dental implants last?
With the right dental care, dental implants can last patients for up to 20 years. scheduling regular dental cleanings in our office, as well as brushing and flossing regularly, can help you maintain a healthy smile.
How soon can you receive dental implants after a tooth extraction?
Sometimes the dentist places the implants in the same office visit as tooth extraction, often using advanced treatment planning and a process known as All On Four. Typically, the soft tissue requires months of healing before the dentist can place the implant. However, patients should not wait too long to replace a tooth or teeth because multiple aesthetic and oral health problems can arise.
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