Dental Implants Questions

LVI-Trained Dentist Serving Oakton, Vienna, McLean and Nearby Northern Virginia

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Chung consults with a patient

What is a dental implant?

It’s an artificial tooth root made of titanium. Dr. Chung places it in the jawbone to fill the gap left by a missing tooth root and to hold a new porcelain tooth. There are three types of dental implants to accommodate the size and density of your particular jawbone. An implant can also hold a dental bridge.

What kinds of dental implants are there?

There are three types of dental implants. The type most often used is called a root form implant. It is cylindrical and has a grooved surface to help the jawbone tissue grow in closely to it.

If your jawbone is more narrow than average, a plate form implant will be used. As its name suggests, it is flat instead of cylindrical, and can be positioned in a narrower jawbone, as long as the bone is dense enough to hold it.

The third type is called a subperiosteal implant and is not placed in the jawbone, but on top of it under the gums. This type is used when the jawbone is too narrow and not dense enough to hold either of the other two types.

Could there be any allergic response to titanium?

No, bone and titanium have a good affinity. The bone tissue grows in around the implant and incorporates it, making it part of the jawbone structure. This provides a strong, permanent anchor for a new porcelain tooth, or a bridge.

Couldn’t I just have a traditional bridge to replace the missing teeth?

Yes, a dental bridge is an option. A bridge is a good way to fill that gap and hold the surrounding teeth in their proper positions. There is a downside, though.

With a dental bridge, nothing is filling the gap left by the missing tooth root. That’s why a dental implant is so excellent.

If you leave that hole in the jawbone, the bone tissue will shrink to fill it, much as the teeth would move to fill the gap left by the missing crown portion of the tooth. When the jawbone shrinks, it alters the shape of your face and creates a more aged look. Your jaw line and profile will look older.

How are dental implants done?

Dental implants require three visits after the initial one where you and Dr. Chung decide which dental implant is best for you.

  1. The implant is placed in the bone. This is dental surgery and calls for several months of healing time. Dr. Chung will give you printed self-care instructions and will explain that the bone needs time to grow around the implant. This is important as it will create the strong foundation for your new tooth.
  2. A small abutment is attached to the top of the implant. To do this, Dr. Chung makes a small incision in the gums. The abutment will project through the gums and hold the new tooth. Only a couple of weeks are needed for this to heal up.
  3. The new porcelain tooth is attached to the abutment.

Now you have an entire new tooth, with both root and crown. The implant is part of the jawbone and the crown is permanently attached to the implant abutment. You can now eat all your favorite foods and have no worries about the crown becoming loose or falling out.

If you have any missing teeth, it’s important to fill the gaps as soon as possible, and best to fill both the root’s gap and the crown’s gap. Dental implants and the porcelain crowns they hold do both.

Please contact Softouch Dental Care by calling 703-319-6990 if you would like to know more about implant dentistry. We can schedule an initial consultation for you to ask your cosmetic dentistry questions and meet Dr. Chung and his dentistry team. We serve Oakton, Vienna, McLean, Great Falls, Tysons Corner, Reston, Arlington, Herndon, Fairfax, Falls Church, Chantilly, Centreville, and the Northern Virginia area.