Dental implants are a durable, natural looking alternative to traditional solutions for replacing lost or missing teeth. For many people, dental implants are the preferred treatment for tooth replacement due to their stability and longevity. For some, a dental implant may end up being a permanent, lifelong tooth replacement. For others, dental implants may last decades. One thing is certain: implant dentistry offers a long-term solution for replacing teeth.
As an LVI-trained dentist, Dr. Michael Chung is qualified to take you through the dental implant process from consultation to recovery, to placing the replacement tooth.
What Makes Dental Implants a Long-Term Solution?
In the past, tooth replacement options were limited to bridges and dentures. Both of these options can effectively restore a smile and enable some chewing, but dental implants are considered the longest-lasting way to replace missing teeth.
What sets an implant apart from bridges and dentures is its long-term viability. When you get a dental implant, Dr. Chung will implant a small titanium post into the jawbone. The jawbone will heal around the implant over several months, fusing the post to the bone. This process is called "osseointegration." During this time, you may choose to have a temporary partial denture for aesthetic purposes.
The implant effectively replaces the root of the lost tooth and becomes part of your mouth. Because it is anchored in your jawbone, it will not move or cause bone damage.
After the implant site has healed, you will choose an artificial tooth to attach to the implant. Replacement teeth can be crowns, implant-supported dentures, or implant-supported bridges. Unlike traditional bridges and dentures, implant-supported versions are quite stable. Even if a removable implant-supported denture is chosen, the denture will fit better and remain secure due to its anchoring to the implant.
How Long Can Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants can last for decades or even a lifetime.The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) has found that dental implants have about a 95% success rate. The AAOMS also reports knowledge that some of the first dental implants ever placed have functioned for 35 years and up.
Longevity of a dental implant will depend on the following:
- Avoidance of unnecessary stress on the teeth: Your dental implants are designed to support normal chewing functions. However, as with natural teeth, biting or chewing hard non-food objects or using teeth to open items can cause teeth to crack or break.
- Skill of your dentist: An experienced and knowledgeable dentist like Dr. Chung will know how to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants, when the jawbone has assimilated the implant, and what to look for in follow up visits to best support the long-term success of the implant.
- Consistency with your dental hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing along with hygiene appointments every six months, will help you prevent decay and infection and maintain good oral health.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Chung at Softouch Dental Care, please call 703-319-6990. Dr. Chung studied Comprehensive Aesthetic Reconstruction at the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) for Advanced Dental Studies and has over 20 years of experience servingpatients in Vienna, Oakton, McLean, and nearby areas of Northern Virginia.