Questions to Ask at Your Dental Implants Consultation Alexandria, VA
At Alexandria Old Town Dental, we provide dental implants as a permanent solution to tooth loss that can restore both the appearance and function of our patients' smiles. If you have lost a tooth due to an accident, infection, or age, we encourage you to call (703) 763-1078 and schedule an appointment with our dental office. We will be happy to answer any questions that you have after completing an examination and taking X-rays. Here are some questions you should ask so that you can become comfortable with the procedure and be confident in the dentist that you have chosen to work with.
What type of experience do you have to make the process go smoothly?
Whenever you visit a dentist for a major restorative procedure, you should ask about their experience both educationally and clinically. It is important to work with a dentist that performs the implant procedure on a regular basis since this will increase the likelihood of the procedure going smoothly.
Do you complete the entire process in-house or do you work with an oral surgeon?
Each dentist office has a different process. Some will perform the entire procedure, including the placing of the implant and attaching the crown in-house, while others will only attach the crown. This makes it important to find out whether you will need to work with multiple providers or if you will see the same dentist from start to finish.
Can you restore my existing dental implant if the crown is damaged?
If you already have dental implants but have damaged the crown (tooth portion) of one of them, you may qualify for a dental restoration that leaves the implanted portion alone. This is the most convenient and affordable way to address the problem. Therefore, find out if a dentist offers restorative solutions before starting the procedure.
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What are the requirements to qualify for a dental implants procedure?
At Alexandria Old Town Dental, we place dental implants in patients for a variety of reasons. One of the key, qualifying factors is health. If you have any other oral health problems, these will need to be addressed first. Since this is a surgical procedure, it is important to start the process with healthy teeth and gums. The other qualifying factor is bone density. We will take X-rays in our Alexandria dental office to determine if your bone is dense enough for secure implant placement. If it is not, we can discuss other options such as bone grafts.
How long does the process take?
That depends on how many implants you are having placed. It can take up to an hour to place each metal implant. This is why if you are having a lot of teeth replaced, you may need to visit us several times. Once the metal post has been implanted, you will need to wait a couple of months for the process of osseointegration to take place. This is where the metal and bone fuse together to provide a sturdy, synthetic root system for your new tooth. You will not feel anything while this is taking place but waiting is important to ensure that your final tooth is as durable as a natural one would be. When ready, we will attach the new crown (tooth) to an abutment that is secured to your implant. This appointment will be much shorter.
How will the process of receiving dental implants impact my job or taking care of my kids?
When you are scheduled for the surgical portion of the procedure, you will need to take a couple of days off of work. Ideally, we recommend that you visit our dental office at the end of the week so that you can recover over the weekend. Your gums will be sensitive and sore for a few days but if you have the procedure on Thursday, you should be highly functional at work on Monday. As for taking care of children, you can certainly do so after the procedure but we do recommend getting some rest the day of so that your body can focus on recovery.
What is the recovery like?
At Alexandria Old Town Dental, we recommend that you prepare for recovery by putting soft ice packs in the freezer, buying ibuprofen, and soft foods that you can eat. For a few days, your gums will be sore so the ice and ibuprofen will help to reduce any swelling while eating soft foods will help to prevent discomfort. After a few days, you should begin to feel better and start to eat regular foods though you should still avoid anything sharp. Since there is a delay between when the metal implant is placed and when the new tooth is attached, we often provide patients with a temporary denture to wear so that their smile appears intact while waiting for the procedure to be completed.
What are the final results like with a dental implant compared to a bridge or dentures?
Be sure to ask about the final results and what you can expect for your particular situation. Scientifically, an implant is the most secure and durable tooth replacement solution that you can find because it derives strength from the jawbone. By comparison, a bridge relies on your other teeth to hold the bridge in place and dentures are removable which means that they can come loose.
What costs are involved with an implant procedure?
Initially, you will have the pre-operative expense of examinations and X-rays, which most insurance companies will cover. The actual procedure will have the expense of placing the implant and the anesthesia that is used to keep you comfortable. Finally, there is a cost associated with creating and placing the tooth portion of the implant (dental crown). We can give you an exact breakdown of the cost, something that you should request from every dentist.
Do I have to pay for this in cash or are there financing options?
Unless you can afford to pay for the procedure in cash, it is important to visit a dentist that offers financing solutions or payment plans since this is a more costly, restorative solution.
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Definition of Dental Implant Terminology
- 3D CT Scan
- A 3D CT Scan involves using a computed tomography scanner to create a 3D image of one’s teeth, mouth, jaw or other body part for examination.
- An abutment is a component that attaches to the dental implant so a professional can place a dental crown to provide patients with an artificial, aesthetically pleasing and fully-functional smile.
- Dental Implant
- A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
- Dental Implant Coatings
- Dental implant coatings help to anchor the surrounding bone more efficiently and fight bacterial infection better than in the past.
- Dental Implant Connectors
- Dental implant connectors are also known as abutments and connect the implant screw to the dental crown.
- Edentulous is a term that refers to an individual who is lacking tooth.
- Endosteal (endosseous)
- Endosteal is a type of dental implant that a professional places in the alveolar and basal bone of the mandible that transcends only one cortical plate.
- Eposteal (subperiosteal)
- Eposteal is a type of dental implant that conforms to whichever edentulous surface of an alveolar bone is superior.
- Endosteal Implants Types
- An endosteal implant is one of the more common types of dental implants that professionals place in a patient’s mouth.
- Implant-Supported Bridge
- An implant-supported bridge is a dental bridge that professionals fix in place with the use of dental implants inserted in the jaw to create a sturdy set of artificial teeth.
- Oral Surgeon
- An oral surgeon has the necessary skills and completes the proper training to treat a variety of injuries or diseases in the mouth, neck, face or jaw.
- Osseointegration is the process in which a titanium dental implant fuses with the surrounding bone over several months after an oral health professional places the implant in the jaw.
- A periodontist is a specialist that studies and treats diseases and conditions that affect the supporting structure of teeth.
- Literally “around the tooth”
- A prosthodontist is a dental professional who goes through special training to focus on the design and placement of artificial teeth.
- Resorption is the process in which the body absorbs the calcium from the jaw since there are no tooth roots to cause the necessary stimulation and proceeds to use the calcium in other areas.
- Subperiosteal Implants
- Subperiosteal implants are dental implants that consist of a metal framework that dental professionals attach under the gum tissue.
- Transosteal (transosseous)
- Transosteal is a type of dental implant that includes threaded posts which penetrate the superior and inferior cortical bone plates of the jaw.
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