It’s been estimated that close to 70% of U.S. adults between the ages of 35-44 have lost at least one tooth. Once the first tooth is lost, a cascade can begin, ending only when the patient’s arch of teeth is completely gone, leaving them edentulous (toothless). Dental implants are far and away the best tooth replacement option, and can stave off this process and save your remaining teeth.
Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton and Dr. Peter Grinc in Washington, DC, provide dental implant consultations for those considering implants. We also design and install restorations after an oral surgeon places your dental implants, renovating your smile.
How dental implants work
When you lose a tooth, the root that is implanted in your jawbone isn’t there anymore. This root is what keeps the bone in your jaw stimulated. Without it, your bone starts to slowly dissolve, causing the teeth on either side to loosen and eventually fall out.
Dental implants replace your original tooth root with a biocompatible titanium post. Once the post is implanted, your jawbone heals around it in a natural biological process known as osseointegration
Once the healed implant is fully integrated with your jawbone, your surgeon will place an abutment on top of the post. After the gum heals around the abutment, you can visit our office for a tooth restoration, or crown, that looks, feels, and functions just like your original tooth.
Dental implant surgery is impossible if there isn’t enough bone to support an implant. In such cases, a bone graft can be done prior to placing the implant, to ensure full osseointegration. This makes it possible to not just replace a missing tooth, but protect your remaining teeth as well.
3 reasons you may need dental implants
There are three main reasons people decide they need a dental implant.
1. A single tooth lost to trauma or decay
If you’ve lost a single tooth, getting a dental implant quickly before the jaw has a chance to lose bone is your best option. Replacing the original root with the titanium implant means you'll preserve the natural strength and support of your full arch of teeth.
2. Several teeth missing in the same arch
If you are missing several teeth (adjacent or not) in the same arch (upper or lower), one or more dental implants can support a bridge or partial denture. This allows you to restore your smile while keeping the integrity of your jaw intact.
3. All teeth lost in one or both arches
If you’re edentulous, four to six dental implants can support complete dentures. These can be fixed, meaning they stay in your mouth all the time, or removable, meaning you can snap them into place or remove them as desired.
Are you considering dental implants? To learn more about the procedure and recovery, call our office at 202-833-1111, or visit the contact page for more information.