Dental Implants – Alexandria, VA
Setting the Foundation
for a New Smile
Many dentists recommend dental implants to replace any number of missing teeth, but they often lack the training and experience to place them. Since dental implants are meant to last for decades, the procedure should only be performed by a true expert, which is where our team at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery comes in. We’ll handle the surgery, so you can fully enjoy the benefits of what many call the gold standard for replacing teeth - dental implants from our Alexandria, VA oral surgeons.
Why Choose Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery for Dental Implants?
- State-of-the-Art Guided Implant Surgery
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that an oral surgeon embeds into your jawbone. Made of titanium, a biocompatible metal, implants fuse with your jawbone as you heal from the surgery. This process, called osseointegration, makes your implant a permanent and extremely durable replacement for your natural tooth root.
While a dental implant replaces your tooth structure below your gum line, it also serves as an anchor onto which the team can affix a crown, bridge, or denture using All-on-4® implants. The team at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery designs your restoration so that it fits perfectly into your smile, supports a healthy bite, and helps you more easily chew your food.
They even give you the option of using porcelain for your restoration, which has a similar color and translucent character to your natural tooth enamel, and therefore blends in aesthetically with the rest of your smile.
Dental implants provide a level of stability, durability, and comfort that’s unmatched by other restoration options, like bridges or traditional dentures. These qualities are because your implant fuses with your jawbone and becomes an integrated part of your oral anatomy.
4 Step Dental Implant Process
Unlike traditional replacement options (dentures and bridges), dental implants require a unique process that spans over months. This may seem like a long time, however this amazing replacement comes with various benefits you can’t get anywhere else. No two treatments are the same, yet every patient can expect the following 4 main steps: consultation, surgery, osseointegration, and delivery of final restoration. For any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. Until then, read on to learn more about how dental implants work in Alexandria.
Initial Dental Implant Consultation
Before getting dental implants, you’ll start with an initial consultation. One of our experts will review your medical history and carefully examine your mouth. In many cases, we’ll recommend preliminary treatments to prepare your mouth for surgery. These often include tooth extractions, bone grafting, and gum disease therapy. Thankfully, we provide most of these services at our office – they are integral for the overall success of your dental implants.
Dental Implant Surgery
Next, you’ll visit our office for implant surgery. We will start by ensuring that your mouth is completely numb for total comfort. If you’re looking for a deeper sense of relaxation, we offer sedation to keep you calm and happy throughout the procedure. Then, one of our oral surgeons in Alexandria will make a small incision on the gums to access the jawbone. Once a slight hole is created, we’ll place the tiny implant post in the jaw before closing up your gums to prepare your mouth for healing. A protective cap is put on top of your implant to maintain your appearance and prevent it from failing.
Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment
After surgery, you’ll start the osseointegration phase. This step usually takes from 3 to 6 months for your implant to fully integrate into your jawbone, becoming a permanent part of the body. While this may seem like a lengthy timeline, this osseointegration process is precisely what allows implants to look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. This is followed by a minor procedure in which a small connector called an abutment is placed – it acts as a connector that mounts the final restoration on top of the implant.
Delivery of Dental Implant Restoration(s)
The good news is that the toughest part of the process is over! All that’s left to do is to get your final restoration. Typically, we will advise you to visit your general dentist for treatment. They will take impressions of your smile, including your dental implant. Next, they’ll be able to create a custom-made crown, bridge, or denture using the impressions. Once your restoration is placed, your dentist will check that your bite is natural and comfortable. They will ensure you’re satisfied before sending you on your way with a newly complete and healthy set of teeth!
After numbing your mouth, we will make a small incision to open your gum tissue so that we can work with the bone. A hole will be created to insert each dental implant post; the procedure will be carefully planned ahead of time so that we can be sure that the implant is being placed in exactly the right area. After the implants are in place, we’ll close the gums again and place a protective cap over the area to aid the healing process.
Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
To be a good candidate for dental implants, you need to have an otherwise healthy smile. Two important factors for successful dental implants are healthy gums and substantial bone tissue.
Implants anchor to your jawbone, so you need to have a significant amount of healthy bone tissue in your jaw to support the implant. If you don’t have enough healthy bone tissue in your jaw, the team at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery can perform a bone graft to augment your bone mass.
Healthy gums are also important for successful dental implants. If you’re suffering from gingivitis or periodontal disease, it needs to be treated before getting implants.
Missing Single Tooth
You only need one dental implant to replace a single missing tooth. A crown can be attached to the post once it has been customized to match the shape and color of your other teeth. You’ll protect your natural enamel by getting a single implant post instead of a dental bridge.
Missing Multiple Teeth
To fill in the empty space left by multiple missing teeth, we can place a pair of dental implants – one at each end of the gap. Then a bridge can be attached to the posts to cover the space. It is also possible to use a small number of implants to support a partial denture.
Missing All of Your Teeth
Dental implants can support dentures to replace all your teeth simultaneously. With normal implant techniques, it might take 6 or even 8 implants to support a denture, but with All-on-4, we can minimize the number of implants used while also potentially eliminating the need for bone grafts.
Placing and restoring implants often calls for a team-based approach, which is why your dentist may refer you to us when you decide to get dental implants. Our talented specialists can perform the surgery and some of the necessary preliminary work while your dentist takes the necessary impressions to design the final restoration. Furthermore, your dentist will provide us with important information about your oral health so that we can make any necessary accommodations.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
The cost of dental implants can vary based on how many will be placed and whether preliminary treatments need to be performed. You’ll also have to consider the cost of the final restoration as well. Remember that the initial price of dental implants is often balanced out by their lifespan; they can stay in your mouth for decades without needing to be replaced, so you’re less likely to need to pay for new ones in the future.
Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery
In certain cases, preparatory treatments may be needed in order to complete dental implant placement. For example, you may need to have teeth extracted or bone grafting completed depending on the circumstance. These services, as well as the surgery and anesthesia needed to complete treatment, all carry their own specific costs. If you were referred to our practice by your dentist, keep in mind that what you pay at NOVA will be separate from the fees you’ll pay for other stages of your treatment, such as the permanent restoration.
The Parts of Your Dental Implant
The more dental implants you need will affect your final cost. This is because of the additional time required to complete surgery as well as the extra materials to create your titanium implant posts. Much like cars or electronics, implants can come in different models and be created by specific manufacturers that charge unique fees. Our office is dedicated to being as transparent as possible about the implants we use and why we think they are the best option for replacing teeth.
Final Dental Implant Restoration
Restorations used to cover your dental implants and complete your smile will vary in cost dramatically based on a few different factors. For one, a single implant crown can be made from a single block of porcelain and customized to attach to an implant quite easily. In contrast, a dental bridge or denture customized for dental implants will take more materials, time, and labor to fabricate, resulting in higher costs. You’ll need to speak with your referring dentist directly about the final price tag of your restoration.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Dental insurance does not typically cover dental implants because they aren’t considered medically necessary by most insurers. However, there are some instances where specific services can have a portion of their costs covered by insurance. This includes preparatory treatments like extractions, bone grafting, and even the restorations. You’ll need to speak with your dentist or insurance provider directly to confirm if any coverage is available.
Making Dental Implants Affordable
Don’t have dental insurance? Your dental implant treatment can still be made affordable through other financing options. This includes payment plans from third-party companies like CareCredit. With it, you can cover the cost of services typically out of reach by signing up for one of their payment plans. Over the course of several months, you can break up the cost of your treatment into monthly chunks, rather than paying in one lump sum. Plus, you can even expect little to no interest attached depending on the plan you choose.
Advanced Dental Implant Procedures
As complex as the implant placement procedure is itself, in many cases, preliminary work is needed to ensure that treatment is successful. The good news is that our team of experts can perform basically any necessary work, meaning you don’t have to work with another office for comprehensive dental implant care. The implant procedures we provide are designed to help prepare your smile for implants so that you can hold onto your replacement teeth for as long as possible. Here are some of the advanced procedures we offer.
To have successful implants, one major requirement is to have enough jawbone tissue to support the posts. Without it, the replacement would not have the strength and stability that implants are known for. Whether due to prolonged tooth loss or conditions like osteoporosis, you may not have sufficient bone density on your own. A bone graft supplements your natural bone and stimulates new growth. After several months following a graft, your jawbone tissue can be ready to receive implants and serve as a strong foundation for your replacement teeth.
Replacing teeth in the upper arch can be more complicated than in the lower. Because of its proximity to the sinuses, there is often limited room for adding bone density. A sinus lift entails physically raising the sinus boundary higher so that a bone graft can be inserted into the area, significantly increasing the capacity to support implants. As a result, this procedure also increases the chances of successful implants on the top row of teeth.
In other fields, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and platelet rich fibrin (PRF) have been found to be beneficial in many situations throughout the body. In fact, PRP and PRF treatment is widely used to not only combat signs of aging in the skin but also encourage new cell growth and regeneration, leading to faster healing times following surgery or injuries. When it comes to implants, we take a small amount of your own blood, put it in a centrifuge, where the plasma is separated. Then, the PRP is reinjected into the area where you need this extra regenerative boost.
The jawbone needs to have the right breadth, as well as reach a certain height, in order to qualify for dental implants. In other words, without a wide enough bone ridge, the implants will not become completely stable. A ridge expansion consists of surgically widening the bone horizontally so that it can envelop the implant completely, providing more security. This procedure often combined with a bone graft and can require several months afterward for the jawbone to fully recover.
Dental Implant FAQs
If you’re curious about dental implants in Alexandria, you’re in the right place! For any specific concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly front desk team. Until then, we want to make it as easy as possible to get the information you need. That’s why we’ve included the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get about dental implants below.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are incredibly durable. They are designed to last for over 30 years and even the rest of your life with proper care. However, their lifespan depends directly on your health and lifestyle. To get the most out of your implants, be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day. Use a nonalcoholic mouthwash and avoid tobacco use. Smoking and tobacco products slow down healing while also promoting infection. Additionally, do not use your teeth for anything other than eating and speaking – using them as tools to open packages can damage your implants and decrease their lifespan.
Can I Take Dental Implants Out?
One of the reasons why dental implants are so popular is that they feel like natural teeth. This is made possible because they fuse to the jawbone to become a permanent part of the body. For this reason, dental implants cannot be removed except by a trained dental professional. Implants are made of biocompatible materials that allow them to integrate with the jawbone during a process called osseointegration. However, some implant dentures are designed so they patient can take out their dentures for cleaning and put them back in with the support of dental implants.
Does Getting Dental Implants Hurt?
The good news is that the dental implant surgery is much more painless than you may expect. Our implant dentist in Alexandria will always ensure that you’re numb and comfortable before beginning. Additionally, your jawbone doesn’t contain very many pain-sensing nerves, which means a more comfortable procedure. That said, it’s normal to experience some slight soreness after the surgery. This can be managed with pain medication and following our post-op instructions. You can also use a cold compress to reduce swelling. If your soreness or pain seems to get worse after 2 or 3 days, call us right away!
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants are great for most patients who have good health. You can enjoy peace of mind and boosted confidence knowing that dental implants have a success rate of 95% even after 10 years. Problems like low jawbone density and gum disease can cause implants to fail, however we offer treatment options to correct these issues and increase your chance of a successful procedure. During an initial consultation, we will review your medical history and examine your mouth. If you have medical conditions like diabetes or cancer, we will discuss your options during your appointment.