Dental Implants in Alexandria, VA
Dental implants are a permanent solution for patients with one or more missing teeth. They offer an unmatched level of support and can restore your natural smile.
Our dentist, Dr. Mullaney, offers dental implants in Alexandria, VA. She can evaluate your case and tell you if you’re a good candidate. Learn how dental implants work here.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small, metal posts that serve as replacement tooth roots. The implant is placed in or above the jawline. Then, an artificial tooth (crown) is attached after a short healing period.
Dental implants involve three parts: implants, abutments, and crowns.
- Implants – Implants resemble titanium screws. They can support dental crowns, bridges, or dentures.
- Abutment – The abutment connects the implant and the crown.
- Crown – A dental crown is a replacement tooth that matches your natural teeth. It’s the only visible part of the implant.
At Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS, we coordinate dental implant cases with a local oral surgeon. We will conduct an initial dental exam to make sure you’re a strong candidate for dental implants. Then, we work closely with an oral surgeon to have your implants placed. After the implants heal, Dr. Mullaney will create dental crowns that are a perfect match for your smile!
Who Is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Good oral health aside, you’ll need a healthy jawbone to support and anchor the implants.
If you’ve suffered bone loss, Dr. Mullaney may recommend dental implants to prevent further deterioration. However, bone grafting may be an option as part of the implant process.
Dental implants may not be suitable for patients taking immunosuppressants. Grinding or clenching your teeth also affects your eligibility. If either of these applies to you, we offer many different dental services and can find the best solution for your needs.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants provide stronger support than crowns and bridges despite being more invasive.
Dental implant surgery is performed in stages and is not a procedure you can have done in one dental visit. Here’s how it works:
- Consultation – Dr. Mullaney will examine your mouth and take x-rays to determine your eligibility. She will refer you to an oral surgeon to place your implants.
- Implant Placement – You will visit an oral surgeon’s office to have your implants placed. From here, it takes about three to six months for the surrounding bone to fully heal.
- Abutment Placement – Following this period, the surgeon positions an abutment on top of the implant. In some cases, the implant and abutment are placed simultaneously. Because it’s visible, Dr. Mullaney may recommend a temporary flipper or healing cap to protect the implant.
- Crown Placement – Once everything heals, Dr. Mullaney will take impressions of your teeth and order a permanent dental crown. These crowns are then attached to your abutments.
The entire process can take 6-8 months to complete, depending on how fast your gums heal.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Implant screws can last a lifetime with regular brushing and flossing. The crowns, however, last anywhere from 10 to 15 years before they need replacing. While crowns won’t decay, they require the same care as your natural teeth.
Follow Dr. Mullaney’s oral hygiene instructions to ensure your implants last as long as possible.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer benefits that other replacement options can’t. For instance, you tend to lose bone mass in your jaw when you’re missing teeth. Dental implants are the only replacement option capable of replicating jawbone stimulation, which prevents bone loss.
Other benefits of dental implants include:
- Improved appearance – Dental implants feel and function like natural teeth. And since they match the color of your surrounding teeth, no one will know which ones are implants.
- Easy to care for – Implants don’t require special care. Just brush and floss the same way you do with your natural teeth.
- Better oral health – A gap in the mouth can cause your teeth to shift and, eventually, decay. Dental implants fill this space, and you’ll never have to worry about them getting cavities.
- Enables natural speech – Replacement options, like dentures, can affect your speech. Implants allow you to speak and chew easily without slippage.
Implant Dentist in Alexandria, VA
Are you looking for an implant dentist? Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS offers cosmetic dentistry services in Alexandria, VA.
With over two decades of experience, we can help you decide if dental implants are right for you. Call (240) 532-3335 or contact us today to schedule a consultation!