Dr. Georges Traboulsi, DDS, of the Dulles Dental Group offers periodontal services, which include dental implants, to the residents of Centerville, Virginia.
Dental Implants Q & A
What is a Dental Implant?
A healthy tooth is connected to the jawbone by a strong root. If the tooth is knocked out or damaged by severe decay, it should be replaced to prevent other teeth from shifting. A dental implant replaces the tooth root with a piece of metal made from titanium. As the jaw heals, the bone will bond with the implant, creating a solid attachment. A prosthetic tooth is then attached to the dental implant.
Who Needs a Dental Implant?
The purpose of a dental implant is to replace teeth that are missing, whatever the reason. Dental implants protect their oral health, as they prevent other teeth from moving into the open gap. When teeth shift in this fashion, they can cause misalignments and make remaining teeth wear unevenly. The open space is also subject to injury when patients chew hard foods and may increase the risk of gum disease if food particles are trapped in the socket.
Who Are Good Candidates for a Dental Implant?
Almost anyone can have a dental implant. Since it is a surgical procedure, patients should be in good general health. People who have chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease may need a little advance preparation and should visit a family doctor before the procedure to ward off potential problems. Any dental issues such as gum disease should also be treated prior to the implant to reduce the risk of infection. Patients need a strong bone in the jaw to have an implant; if that’s a problem, they may need a bone graft first.
What is a Dental Implant Procedure Like?
A dental implant is generally an office-based procedure. Patients receive a local anesthetic and may also have nitrous oxide (laughing gas). The periodontist will insert the implant by drilling or tapping it into the jawbone. After a healing period of about six months, the implant and bone will fuse together. Patients wear a temporary dental appliance during the healing period, so they can eat. Once healing is complete, patients go back to have the prosthetic tooth attached.