A dental implant is a small titanium post that’s surgically inserted into your jawbone and capped with an artificial tooth or bridge. It’s one of the most durable and effective solutions to replace missing teeth — but is it the right dental restoration for you?
Narjes Abtahi, DDS, and our team at Your Community Smile in Lansdowne, Virginia, specialize in dental implants. If you’re curious about the benefits of getting dental implants, here are the top five signs it’s time to consider implants to restore and strengthen your smile.
When to consider dental implants
Dental implants are permanent artificial teeth that look and function just like natural teeth. They’re a popular, effective solution for a variety of oral health issues, and they could be a good option for you, too.
It might be time to consider dental implants if:
1. You have a missing tooth (or teeth)
About 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. A missing tooth leaves a gap in your smile, but it also puts your oral health at risk. Having missing teeth puts extra stress on your remaining teeth, and that gap can make chewing and talking more difficult.
If you have one or more missing teeth, dental implants are an excellent option for replacing them. Implants are more stable and natural-looking than other dental restorations like dentures, and they can help preserve the integrity of your jawbone.
2. You have bone loss in your jaw
When you lose a tooth, the surrounding jawbone begins to atrophy, or shrink. The space makes your surrounding teeth shift, and bone loss can even make nearby teeth become loose and fall out. Bone loss can also make your face look sunken in and limit your ability to chew and speak.
Dr. Abtahi surgically inserts the dental implant post into your jawbone. Once it fuses in place, the implant helps stimulate healthy bone growth. Getting an implant fights bone loss, atrophy, and other complications.
3. Your dentures are loose or uncomfortable
About 15% of people who have missing teeth wear dentures. While dentures are custom-made, many people find them uncomfortable or impossible to get used to.
If your dentures shift, slip, or hurt, it’s time to consider dental implants. Dr. Abtahi may recommend a series of dental implants to anchor your dentures. The implants create a secure base for the dentures, making them much more stable and comfortable to wear.
4. You have difficulty eating or talking
Your teeth all work together when you bite, chew, and talk, and missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures can interfere with your mouth function. Maybe you can’t eat certain foods, or maybe you struggle to enunciate your words clearly.
Because dental implants are strong, they enhance your normal mouth function. Dental implants can help restore your ability to eat a varied diet, chew food more easily, and speak clearly.
5. You’re self-conscious about your smile
Last but not least: Dental implants could help you love your smile again. Missing teeth or poorly fitting dentures can make you feel self-conscious, but dental implants can restore your confidence.
Dr. Abtahi can customize your dental implants to look and function like your remaining natural teeth. Getting a dental implant fills the gap left by a missing tooth, and most people will never know your tooth is artificial.
What to expect when you get a dental implant
At your consultation, Dr. Abtahi examines your mouth, takes X-rays of your teeth and jaw, and reviews your medical history. If you have a generally healthy jawbone and you’re in good overall health, she may recommend dental implants.
Getting dental implants typically involves a few steps, and the process takes several months. First, Dr. Abtahi makes a small incision in your gums to expose your jawbone. She places the titanium post into your jaw and closes the incision with stitches.
You wait a few months for the area to heal. During this time, your jawbone grows around the implant, securing it in place. Once the implant has fully healed, Dr. Abtahi attaches a custom-made prosthetic replacement tooth or bridge to the implant post.
If you have missing teeth or uncomfortable dentures, dental implants could be an excellent option for you. Call our office at 703-565-2667 or schedule an appointment online with the team at Your Community Smile.