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Dental Implants

Dental implants, an advanced form of tooth replacement therapy, are designed to mimic natural teeth in structure, function, and appearance (all the while, preventing bone resorption after root extraction by replacing root structure). Using a titanium post that is carefully and strategically inserted into the jawbone (utilizing CT scans, 3D treatment planning, and a surgical guide to know the direction, size, and angulation of the implant way in advance of the surgical date), a dental implant can replicate the function of a tooth root, prevent the misalignment (bite collapse), potential jaw pain (due to missing molars), and prevent deterioration of bone where roots used to be that often follows major tooth loss or damage. The titanium post is then topped with a custom crown (to fit the patient’s particular bite) for optimal function and aesthetics. Dr. Mojgan Mazhari is a skilled and experienced implantologist with years of experience treating tooth loss with this revolutionary method. Furthermore, the advanced imaging technology and digital impressions technique using Cerec 3D prime scan, available at Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio, enables her to accurately plan, design, and place the implants for the most comfortable and satisfactory results possible. Most cases have reported absolutely no pain and no need to take pain medication as early as the first day after surgery.

If you are interested in learning more about dental implants as a tooth replacement option, we invite you to contact Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio today. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to answer any questions you may have or help you schedule a consultation with Dr. Mazhari.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are often considered the optimal form of tooth replacement due to their ability to replicate the entirety of the natural tooth structure. Furthermore, since they are implanted directly into the jaw, they can prevent bone resorption and further deterioration from taking root. Some of the key benefits of dental implants for your long-term dental health include:

Although dental implants typically require a greater commitment of both time and money up front, many of the long-term benefits should outweigh the cost of investment. Dental implants can give you a natural-looking smile that boosts your confidence and allows for the best possible quality of life.

What Are the Different Types of Dental Implants?

Single-Tooth Implants (single implant-supported crown)

Single-tooth dental implants are designed to replace individual missing or damaged teeth. This form of restoration is the closest thing to a natural tooth, as it replaces every part of the tooth structure, including the root. To begin, a titanium post will be inserted into the jawbone, simulating a new “root.” Over the course of a few months, the post and the bone should fuse together, creating a stable, permanent base for the customized dental crown restoration that will be placed on top of the post. The titanium “root” of the implant has the added benefit of stimulating the jawbone and preventing further decay and damage to surrounding teeth. In most cases, dental implants will look, feel, and function exactly like a natural tooth. They are also quite durable, capable of lasting for decades with proper care and maintenance (most patients have reported their final crown feeling better than their own teeth).

Implant Bridges (multi-unit bridge supported by multiple implants)

In cases where a patient is missing multiple teeth in a row, an alternative form of implant restoration can be employed in which a few implant posts are used to support a series — or “bridge” — of crowns. Dr. Mazhari will carefully evaluate your oral health and the structure of your jawbone in order to best determine how many individual implants will be needed to adequately support the row(s) of custom crowns. Using our advanced imaging technology, she will then strategically place the implants for optimal security, comfort, function, and aesthetics.

Implant-Supported Dentures

If you are missing all or nearly all of your teeth on one or both dental arches, it may indeed be possible to restore your full smile with implant-supported dentures. Full mouth cases usually require four to six titanium implants per arch, which are used to anchor a prosthetic denture. Using our advanced imaging technology, Dr. Mazhari will strategically place the implants for optimal comfort and stability. Once the implants have successfully fused with the jawbone, the custom dental prosthesis will be firmly affixed onto the implant base for a secure, functional, and natural-looking result.

There are numerous options available for full mouth cases, including for people who have been without their teeth for a long time. If, after years of wearing traditional removable dentures, your jawbone has atrophied (deteriorated) too much for dental implants to be supported, there are still options. Some types of implants are designed to work with less jawbone, and these methods can often work for people who are not able to get regular implants. Smaller or angled implants from Dr. Mazhari can solve problems with placement for many patients.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Candidates for dental implants are those who have one or more missing or severely damaged teeth in need of replacement. Dental implants are often considered the ideal tooth replacement option due to their ability to replicate the entirety of the tooth structure, including the root. However, there are a few circumstances that may impact your candidacy for a dental implant, including smoking, significant bone deterioration, and certain diseases like diabetes, which can adversely impact the immune system. During a consultation, Dr. Mazhari will examine your oral health, medical history, and lifestyle in order to determine your candidacy for dental implants. In some cases, she may recommend an additional procedure prior to the implant treatment, such as a bone graft, in order to increase the likelihood of success.

What Does the Dental Implant Procedure Involve?

While the precise details of the dental implant treatment process will vary for each patient, the timeline for completing the treatment is generally a period of several months, spread over various stages.

At our practice, we offer iTero® and CEREC Primescan® for more accurate, convenient treatment. Dr. Mazhari can utilize these state-of-the-art intraoral devices to create digital impressions of the patient’s mouth and generate digital images to preview the expected results. The iTero® is an innovative tool that utilizes advanced technology to generate digital dental impressions. This allows our team to accurately map out the treatment plan for each patient’s new smile. With CEREC Primescan®, our team uses intuitive AI (artificial intelligence) to create detailed scans of our patients’ teeth. Both of these devices eliminate the need for traditional putties and pastes in order to map out your smile. Additionally, iTero® and CEREC Primescan® can reduce the amount of time it takes to create a precise impression of your smile, which can speed up the entire process of receiving dental implants.

If Dr. Mazhari is doing the initial tooth extraction, she generally recommends waiting about two to three months after the extraction before placing the permanent implant. She will place a temporary tooth on the day of the extraction in order to give patients greater comfort and aesthetic peace-of-mind, as well as to keep the space open and prevent bite change or collapse over four to eight months. The two-month waiting period encompasses the average amount of time that it takes for the jawbone to grow back where the extracted tooth root used to be. In cases where a patient has low jawbone density, Dr. Mazhari may recommend patients undergo a bone grafting procedure in order to ensure a higher likelihood of implant success.

Once the bone growth and density has been deemed satisfactory, the implant placement itself is actually rather straightforward, as we insert a high-quality titanium post into the extraction site. This post will then fuse with the jawbone over the course of several months, in preparation for the placement of a permanent crown. Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio does a significant amount of prep work before placing the implant, which includes taking a CT scan and planning the angulation of the implant for improved accuracy. We carefully prepare the details of the procedure ahead of time so that our patients can have the most streamlined, comfortable, and efficient treatment possible. Many of our patients are in the dental chair for under an hour on the day of their implant placement (for a single implant).

After the titanium post has been inserted, Dr. Mazhari will place the temporary tooth back in so that the titanium post has time to fuse fully with the jawbone. We instruct patients to try not to chew with that area, or subject it to unnecessary or excessive pressure. About four to six months after the implant is placed, the final crown can be connected to the titanium post, completing the implant process. Dr. Mazhari does not generally require patients to schedule follow-up appointments during the healing period unless they are experiencing a problem.

The above information assumes that only one dental implant is being placed. If the treatment plan calls for more than one implant to be placed during a single sitting, then each additional implant adds about 30 minutes to the total operating time. Dr. Mazhari feels that it is important to be careful and precise while placing implants in order to avoid causing inflammation in the bone. This increases the comfort of her patients and allows for a greater success rate.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The physical titanium post that makes up the dental implant is likely to last for a lifetime, as it fuses with the surrounding bone within the jaw. While the dental appliance on the surface level (such as a dental crown) will likely need to be replaced over time, the actual dental implant should not endure the same wear and tear. Dental implants are used to secure dental restorations into place and can provide increased stability and functionality. Proper maintenance and oral care can also lend to the overall longevity of dental implants.

What Are the Alternatives to Dental Implants?

If dental implants are not right for you or you are not an ideal candidate, there are alternatives that can produce similar results. Traditionally, dentures were the ideal solution for patients who needed to address missing or damaged teeth in most or all of a dental arch. Dental implants require a certain amount of jawbone density, so dentures may still be a better option if you lack the required amount. Dental bridges can also be a great alternative for those who are not suited for dental implants and only need to address one or a few missing teeth. Dental bridges fill the gap left by a missing tooth (or consecutive teeth) by attaching to the two surrounding teeth on either side.

How Do I Care for My Dental Implants?

Caring for your dental implants and the attached restorations is key to extending the longevity of your results and improving your oral hygiene. Dental implants are designed to feel and look natural while mimicking the function of regular teeth. Keeping up with brushing, flossing, and routine dental exams is crucial for the upkeep of your dental implants.

What Is Recovery From Dental Implant Surgery Like?

Because dental implant surgery will be different for each patient, the recovery will vary from person to person. The length of recovery will be impacted by the amount of implants patients receive, the type of implant, and the overall work needed to meet their needs. Patients typically experience some form of discomfort that may include swelling and bleeding, but this should subside over time. Furthermore, pain medication can typically aid in addressing any swelling and discomfort. Generally speaking, the recovery from dental implant surgery can last between three and six months. However, patients should be able to return to work within one to two days of surgery.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

The total cost of dental implants can vary significantly depending on numerous factors, including the amount of preparation needed to prepare the implant site(s), the number of implants being placed, the type of restoration chosen, and whether or not bone grafting is necessary. That said, the cost of treatment typically ranges between $1,600 and $2,600 for the implant and abutment, and $1,600 and $2,600 for the crown/restoration. The total cost for a single tooth implant is typically around $5,000.

Dental implants are permanent, easy to take care of, and designed to look and function just like natural teeth – but many patients are wary of the perceived cost. Indeed, since dental implants require surgery and custom fabrications, the upfront costs often appear significantly higher than those for a fixed dental bridge, denture, or other restoration option. However, the lifetime value of dental implants can more than make up for this discrepancy: as a permanent tooth replacement option, the lifetime maintenance fees associated with dental implants are often much lower than those of dentures or other removable appliances. They also have the advantage of requiring only basic oral hygiene care, as opposed to the complex array of cleaning, sanitizing, and adhering solutions used for other restorations.

In addition to the long-term financial benefits of implants, Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio also offers a number of financing options to help make them more affordable in the short-term. We partner with a number of trusted national healthcare lenders in order to make dental implants attainable for nearly any budget. Our financial partners can help qualified applicants set up a payment plan that suits their needs, ensuring that high-quality dental solutions are available to as many patients as possible.

What Happens if My Dental Implants Need Repair?

Dental implants are a wonderful way to restore your smile and improve your overall oral health. Just like any other procedure, however, dental implants require maintenance and regular care. There may also come a time when your dental implants need to be restored or repaired due to damage, improper care (heavy plaque and bacteria surrounding the implant, or just normal wear-and-tear such as heavy bite or heavy grinding particularly during sleep). Fortunately, the team at Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio is here to make your dental implants as good as new.

Dental implants are stronger than natural teeth, and you can typically expect the dental crown that is affixed to the implant post to last between 10 to 20 years or longer when properly cared for. However, regular dental visits are vital to maintaining your implants and to keeping them healthy and strong. Improper care can cause the implants to get loose prematurely, meaning that they will need to be replaced earlier. Furthermore, if the implant was not correctly fitted when first installed, or if the bone support is inadequate and the titanium post does not properly fuse, additional problems can occur. Other factors, such as diabetes — which can weaken the immune system and leave an individual more susceptible to infection — or smoking — which kills bone and gum tissue — can also increase the likelihood of a patient potentially needing an implant repaired.

If you notice a problem with your dental implants, do not wait until the problem gets worse. Your dentist can often recognize problems before you may even be aware of them. Dr. Mazhari has been working with dental implants for years, and she can often diagnose any issues and repair implants right in her office. If you find yourself in need of a dental implant repair, contact our office today and we can schedule an examination.

For additional information on dental implants and effective replacement of missing teeth, or to schedule an appointment, please reach out to Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio.