Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Dental Implant i-CATDespite the advances in dental and oral health care in this country over the past century, many Americans lose their teeth because of tooth decay, illness or injury.  In fact, 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth and over 35 million people in this country do not have any natural teeth at all.

Losing teeth can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for many reasons. It can affect your speech, your oral health and your self-esteem. So, what are your options for missing teeth? Removable dentures and bridges can provide a long-term solution. But, they can be irritating, slip while speaking and change your diet as you may need to avoid certain kinds of foods.

Dental Implants: A Permanent Solution

Dental implants replace natural tooth roots and are a permanent solution to lost teeth. They consist of metal posts or frames that are surgically fused below the gum line directly onto your jawbone. Artificial crowns are then placed over the implants, creating a new set of permanent replacement teeth.

Committing to dental implants takes some patience. The procedure requires several steps that are performed over the span of months.

  1. First, the dentist surgically places the implant onto the patient’s jaw, while inserting screws to prevent debris and bacteria from entering the implant. Gum tissue must then be allowed to heal for 3-6 months.
  2. The second step requires multiple posts to be attached to the implant. Again, the gums must heal around each post.
  3. Eventually, the third step of attaching crowns to the posts creates a permanent new set of artificial teeth.

The Next Best Thing to Natural Teeth

Although the process may seem arduous, dental implants provide the longest-lasting and cost-effective solution to missing teeth. Dental bridges and dentures – even when taken care of – will eventually have to be replaced, but dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth and can last a lifetime if properly cared for.

With dental implants, you won’t need to worry about your speech or diet being affected by loose or uncomfortable dentures. They allow you to retain your natural face shape, as missing teeth can cause sunken or hollow-looking pockets in your face. Dental implants protect your bones and any remaining natural teeth you may have by guarding your jawbone against further irritation and deterioration. In fact, implants may actually help stimulate bone growth.

There is also no worry about further tooth decay or cavities with dental implants – although continuing proper oral habits is essential to keeping implants healthy over the long term.

So, are you a candidate for dental implants? Definitely – as long as you have healthy gums and adequate bone and tissue to support the implant process. You’ll have to visit your dentist to confirm that.

Missing teeth can affect every facet of your life – from your eating habits, to speech, to how you feel when you look in the mirror. Dental implants, when placed correctly by a skilled dentist, can give you a new lease on life – and your smile.

Have more questions about whether dental implants are right for you? Let us give you some answers. With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more at


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