Questions About Implant Dentistry

What are dental implants?
Dental implants are substitutes for the roots of missing teeth. Implants act as an anchor for a replacement tooth or crown, or for an entire set of replacement teeth.

There are two categories of dental, or tooth implants – endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are used when the jawbone has a normal amount of width and height. There are two types of endosteal implants – root form and plate form. Root form implants are screw-type implants inserted directly into the jawbone, under the gums. If there is not enough jawbone width and height to place a root form implant, a plate form implant is used instead. A plate form implant is long and flat, and is placed on top of the jawbone, under the gums. Implanting either root or plate form implants is a surgical procedure and requires anesthesia.

Subperiosteal tooth implants are used where there is very little jawbone width or height. Subperiosteal implants rest on top of your jawbone, under your gum (like plate form implants). However, subperiosteal implants requires the creation of a custom-made implant. An impression of your teeth must first be made to create this custom-made implant. The impression can be taken either via a surgical procedure or a CAT scan and computer modeling. Either way, implanting the custom-made implant is a surgical procedure, and requires anesthesia.

Am I a candidate for implants?
Only a qualified cosmetic dentist can determine if dental implants are for you. However, generally, tooth implants are the right choice for anyone missing one or more teeth – teeth which are missing due to injury, disease or decay. They are especially practical for patients who can no longer wear removable dentures.

Are there different kinds of implants?
There are many shapes, sizes and brands of implants available. Only a qualified cosmetic dentist can determine which tooth implant is the right one for you.

How long does the procedure take?
Only your cosmetic dentist can tell you exactly. Placing dental implants is a surgical procedure, and the healing time after the surgery is typically three to six weeks. However, the process really depends on the type and number of implants, as well as the condition of the jawbone. As a result, the timeline for each patient can vary considerably.

What can I expect?
A dental implant isn't something you can see. It is simply an artificial root. The artificial tooth or crown which is attached to the implant is what will be noticeable, and the naturalness of those depends largely upon the skill of the cosmetic dentist. With a good cosmetic dentist, your new teeth will blend in almost perfectly with your existing ones.

The type of tooth implant used (root, plate or subperiosteal) is determined solely by the structure and health of your jawbone. A root form implant is the simplest, least invasive procedure. A subperiosteal implant is more intricate, and requires the most surgery. Regardless, the end result should be the same – a solid, structurally sound artificial root which holds either a false tooth or a crown as well as a real root holds a real tooth.

You should be satisfied with nothing less than a tooth which fits absolutely securely onto the implant. A tooth or crown which is loose or – even worse – falls out is usually the result of a poorly trained cosmetic dentist.

Dr. Alex Naini is a graduate of the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies and has many years of experience placing implants. If you live in the Vienna area contact her today for an initial consultation.

Cosmetic dentistry –
it truly is something worth smiling about!

Alex M. Naini, DDS
Aesthetic Dental Spa
703.827.8270
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