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Dental Implant Services in Washington, DC

Replace Your Missing Teeth Permanently

In simple terms, dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are implanted into your jaw to support replacement teeth. It is a dental restoration procedure that can be used to replace missing teeth or to treat specific dental conditions. If you have missing teeth or want to improve the esthetics of your smile, please call Dlight Dental. We can work with you to determine if dental implants or another dental restoration option is right for you.

Why Would We Recommend Dental Implants?

An animation of a dental implant in Washington DCDlight Dental would recommend dental implants to you as a treatment choice if you would like to replace one or more missing teeth. Please be aware that there are other choices such as crowns, bridges, and dentures that can replace missing teeth as well. Dental implants can even support these alternate options and are the treatment of choice today by both dentists and patients.

Do I Really Need To Replace My Missing Teeth?

Patient receiving dental examYou may be wondering whether it is even necessary to replace your missing teeth other than for aesthetic reasons. Yes, there are several good reasons to do so, including:

  • To maintain the natural shape of your jaw and face: If you have been missing teeth for a long time, the shape of your jaw and face can change, and dental implants can prevent this from happening.
  • To eliminate bone loss from your jaw: Once a tooth is lost, the corresponding jawbone beneath it will not receive stimulation and will start deteriorating. A dental implant can help prevent this because it forms a strong bond with the jaw and provides a stable foundation. Tooth replacement systems such as dentures do not offer the same bone loss prevention as dental implants.
  • To help restore normal biting and chewing: Missing teeth can make it more difficult to eat, which in turn can result in improper digestion and related health concerns. Replacing your missing teeth with dental implants can prevent this problem much better than traditional dentures.

How Are Dental Implants Placed?

Model of implant supported dental crownPlacing dental implants involves minor surgical procedures which are usually done in several stages. The specific details on how we complete the treatment will vary with individual patients. Important factors include the number of implants you need, the condition of your jawbone, and how fast the surgical site heals. Also, some patients may require bone grafting before the initial dental implant surgery.

In general, you will need at least four visits to your dentist at Dlight Dental. The dental implant process from start to completion can take about four to nine months, sometimes even longer. Most of this time will be spent on healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw after the implants have been placed.

The process to get dental implants involves 4 basic steps:

  • Your dentist will start by conducting a thorough examination to prepare the area for the procedure. It will involve taking pictures (x-rays or 3D digital images) and thoroughly cleaning your teeth.
  • Once the area is prepared, the first step is to place the dental implant root into your jawbone. At this time, you will also receive a temporary tooth so that you can eat and function like normal almost immediately. After placing the dental implant root, you must wait for a few (3-4) months. This is to facilitate healing so that the implant can integrate with your jawbone in order to provide function that mimics natural tooth roots
  • After you have healed, the next step is to attach the abutment (which is the support for your replacement teeth) to the implant root, which will be followed by a shorter healing period.
  • This is followed by the final step, implant restoration, which is the attachment of the permanent ceramic tooth or teeth. Now, your new tooth should be installed for life.

Mini Dental Implants

Closeup of patient with flawless smileWe also provide alternative treatments using mini dental implants. These small versions of implant roots are used in a variety of situations. Smaller implant roots are often recommended for the front teeth that have less dental structure to attach to the post. Mini implants heal more quickly and the surgical placement requires smaller incisions, so many patients who would otherwise require advanced grafting procedures prior to implant placement can undergo treatment right away.

What Types Of Tooth Replacement Options Are Available?

Patient receiving dental treatmentDepending on the number and positioning of your missing teeth, we may recommend a variety of different restoration options, including:

  • Crown and Bridge: For single teeth or two to four consecutive teeth, we will likely recommend the placement of a crown or fixed bridge prosthetic. Like their traditional counterparts, these restorations look just like the visible part of your teeth, but inside they are crafted to be secured to an implant root. One crown is anchored to a single implant root, and in many cases, two crowns fused together can also be supported with just one dental implant. However, to replace several consecutive teeth, we will need at least two implants to support them.
  • Dentures: For more extensive tooth loss, we will recommend a partial or full implant supported denture. Traditional dentures use the surrounding healthy teeth or suction between the gums and denture base to provide stability for the prosthetic. With implant supported dentures, between four and six implants will provide comfortable, natural feeling support that increases a patient’s chewing ability dramatically compared to traditional dentures.
  • Teeth-in-a-Day: This innovative dental implant treatment process allows us to attach a full denture on the same day that we surgically place implant roots. That means you’ll never spend one day without the complete, beautiful smile you deserve. In some cases, we’ll need to adjust your denture or replace it once your soft tissue has fully healed, but in just one office visit, you’ll leave with a complete smile.

Learn More About Teeth-in-a-Day

What To Expect After Getting Dental Implants

Closeup of whole healthy beautiful smileOnce the procedure is finished, you should expect your restored smile to look, work, and function normally almost immediately. Usually, implants will last a lifetime. Ideally, we recommend that the crown, bridge, or denture be replaced every 10-15 years. When compared to other treatment options for missing teeth, such as traditional dental bridges or dentures, dental implants are more natural looking. They look and feel much better and will function as well as your natural teeth.

What Are The Risks & Concerns?

Male patient holding cheek in dental chair

  • Some people may experience temporary discomfort or minor pain for a couple of days after their treatment.
  • This is a surgical procedure, so you may see bruising or minor swelling immediately after the implant surgery.
  • Compared to options such as dental bridges and dentures, the dental implant procedure costs about the same and is not any more of a laborious treatment. Please take your time to discuss your options with us so you can choose the best treatment for your needs.