Until relatively recently, there were not many different options for tooth replacement if you lost a permanent tooth. Previously, dentists mostly used dental bridges or partial dentures to fill gaps in a smile. Nowadays, dental implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth due to their longevity, durability, and ease of care. Plus, they look like natural teeth!
Before you book an appointment to get an implant, you should find out if it’s the best dental treatment option for you. Dr. Datta Malyavantham in Northern VA presents five questions to ask your dentist before getting dental implants.
1. How will a dental implant benefit my oral health?
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth made to fill in the gap left by a lost or missing tooth and should feel and function like a natural tooth. Although replacing missing teeth may seem simply a cosmetic concern, having a gap in your smile could actually endanger your oral health.
Dental implants replace the roots of the missing teeth, helping the surrounding tissues remain in the proper place. After a tooth is pulled and the socket, an implant screw, made of titanium, zirconium or other materials, is embedded into the jawbone. Afterward, the implant is capped with a crown that is designed to match your surrounding teeth. Your implant will help keep teeth from shifting and bone tissue from deteriorating.
2. What happens if a missing tooth is not replaced?
When a tooth is lost and not replaced, you may experience difficulty chewing foods leading to poor nutrition. Fruit, vegetables and nuts require more chewing than “junk food” like ice cream, cake, brownies, etc. Furthermore, jawbone tissues may erode faster, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease and destabilizing neighboring teeth. These teeth may shift, causing an uneven or unstable bite. The loss of jawbone can lead to regression of the mouth, causing a sunken-in appearance.
3. How long do implants last?
Implants are made of strong materials that are resistant to decay and designed to fit better, so the jawbone heals faster. Because they are surgically implanted in the jawbone, dental implants can last for decades with proper care. The crown may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear, but the implant screw itself often lasts for the rest of a patient’s life. Make sure you visit Ridgetop Dental for regular check-ups and cleanings to make sure your implant is still functioning correctly.
4. How much do implants cost?
Although implants have become a popular dental treatment, many dental insurance plans still do not cover the full cost. In some cases, medical insurance may cover some of the expense depending on the reason for the implant. Although amounts vary based on location and the dentist, implants, crowns and related dental work can be costly. However, many patients that have received implants feel that they are well worth the cost as they are indistinguishable from natural teeth and do not require special maintenance or regular replacement like other options. Your dentist can provide a written treatment plan outlining all of the costs, appointment schedules and follow up checkups.
5. What is the dentist’s experience with implants?
Before scheduling an implant procedure with your area dentist, find out the dentist’s experience, such as: What additional training have they had with implants? Are they board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics or prosthodontics, or received any other special training? Dr. Datta is a member of both the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI). He has years of experience and advanced training in the placement of all types of dental implants.
Dental Implant Dentist in Northern VA
For a consultation with Dr. Datta to see if implants are the right step for you, request an appointment online or call us.