What is a dental implant?

For more than a quarter of a decade, dental implants have been adopted by the dental and medical communities as the preferred method of tooth replacement. Although nothing can take the place of healthy, natural teeth, when tooth loss occurs, implants are typically the best option for replacing them.

Dental implants are titanium cylinders that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw by an implant dentist. The titanium is highly compatible with the human body, safely integrating with the jaw bone to produce a sturdy replacement tooth root. The implant functions as an anchor for replacement teeth, generally a single crown, a fixed bridge, or removable partials and dentures.

During your evaluation for dental implants, your surgeon will partner with you to outline the plan for the best possible result. Because much of the success of the implant procedure is based on a strong fusion with the bone, your surgeon will assess the amount of bone available in the area where the implant is to be placed. If the area is found to have insufficient bone density, an additional procedure called bone grafting may be required. The surgeon will reinforce the area with natural or synthetic bone.

It is also important to create a replacement tooth that is esthetically pleasing and natural looking. The implant dentist will take careful measures to preserve the integrity of the gum tissue surrounding the implant. Once the implant has completely healed, typically three to six months after placement, a custom artificial tooth replacement is prepared based on the shape, size, and color of your natural teeth.

The placement of an implant is generally a two or three-part process that can take several months. It is designed to be a long-term tooth replacement solution which looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth. Implants are also proven to stabilize the bite and prevent bone loss. To determine if you are a suitable candidate for a dental implant, schedule a consultation with Dr. Carlos Rafael Ibañez, an experienced implant dentist in Charlottesville. You’ll learn that implants are a fantastic option for restoring your smile!

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