How can we help you?
We're experts at what we do so you don't have to be. But there's a lot to consider when making decisions about dental treatment, and you have a right to feel fully informed and have all your questions answered.
At Dr. Fairfax & Associates Family Dentistry, we're firm believers in educating our patients about the benefits of a healthy smile, so your questions are very important to us. We encourage your questions because we believe that an informed patient is a happy patient!
Here are a few of the questions we hear most frequently. Please give us a call if you're looking for other answers that you don't see here. A friendly member of our team will be happy to help you.
Many people are just now learning about dental implants, but the truth is that implants have been used successfully for decades. Studies by the American Academy of Dental Implantology show that three million people have dental implants, with a success rate of about 98%!
Longevity of Dental Implants
The long-term success of dental implants is dependent on one thing – proper oral health care. If you practice good oral hygiene and visit our Fairfax, VA dental office regularly for checkups, a dental implant can last for the rest of your life.
One of the reasons for the long-term success of dental implants is that they are designed to act as a replacement root for a missing tooth. The titanium implant is a small post that’s placed in your jaw and allowed to heal.
Titanium is a biocompatible material, meaning the living tissue in your jaw readily accepts it. Over time the implant fuses with the bone and tissue, creating a stable foundation for an artificial replacement tooth like a crown, bridge, or denture.
Of course, the artificial tooth will never decay. However, your gums are still susceptible to infection, so you need to ensure that your oral hygiene efforts are effective. Since the implant depends on your gums for support, it’s essential to take all the steps necessary to keep them healthy.
Tooth Replacement in Fairfax VA
A dental implant is a significant investment, so it makes good sense to do everything you can to protect it. If you would like to learn more about dental implants and how to care for them, please call our Fairfax, VA dental office.
For anyone who has lost a tooth to decay, extraction or injury, dental implants are an innovative option far superior to the alternatives like dentures and bridges.
Dental implants in Fairfax, VA are permanently attached to your jawbone and provide the foundation for a restoration that blends seamlessly with your surrounding teeth. Implants won't move or slide around like dentures. Properly maintained, they can last a lifetime.
Dental Implant Process
Your dentist will begin by assessing your oral health to ensure that a dental implant is a viable solution. You must have the adequate bone structure to support the implant.
If you do, your dentist will surgically place the lower portion of your implant, which consists of a titanium screw that integrates with the bone, anchoring it securely. This process, called osseointegration, may take several months to complete.
In the meantime, the upper portion of your implant, known as the restoration, or artificial tooth, will be created from an approximation of your missing tooth.
Your dentist will attach the restoration to your dental implant at a subsequent appointment to complete the process. You will care for your finished implant in the same manner as your natural teeth, by brushing, flossing, and through routine dental check-ups.
Dental implants are the standard of care for missing teeth, so congratulations on your choice! Fortunately, once you have gone through the process from implant placement to restoration, they are no more difficult to take care of than your natural teeth.
How Dental Implants Work
The critical thing to know about your implant, though, is that it gains its strength from the dense bone in your jaw that holds it securely in place. Your responsibility now is to be vigilant about oral hygiene to avoid gum disease that causes the bone to deteriorate around the implant and can lead to its failure.
So care instructions for your new dental implant in Fairfax are pretty basic; brush twice a day and floss once to keep the implant tooth clean and free from plaque. Be sure to pay special attention to all sides of the implant tooth to avoid a buildup of bacterial plaque that can lead to gum disease and threaten your implant.
Implant Dentist in Fairfax
Visit the dentist twice a year or as instructed by Dr. Fairfax so we can check your implant and make oral hygiene recommendations to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your implant secure.
Both options are offered at our Fairfax dental office and effectively fill the gap left by a missing tooth. The primary difference is that a dental bridge only fills the empty space, while a dental implant functions as a complete replacement tooth.
Your Replacement Options
Until recently, there were only two options for replacing one or more missing teeth – a dental bridge or a partial denture. In either case, the purpose is to fill the empty space and not actually replace the tooth.
In most cases, a dental bridge consists of a replacement tooth attached to crowns that secure the bridge as they are held in place by adjacent teeth. When placing a bridge, some alteration to the teeth securing the crowns is necessary.
A dental implant is a stand-alone replacement tooth that does not involve alteration of surrounding teeth. A dental implant functions just like a natural tooth because the implant is actually placed in your jaw, acting as a replacement root.
Tooth Replacements in Fairfax VA
Dr. Fairfax has extensive knowledge and experience in placing dental implants as well as bridges with great long-term success. If you still have questions, please contact our Fairfax dental office to arrange a consultation. We’re sensitive to your needs and will be happy to discuss both options to determine which best fits your needs and budget.