When Should Patients Get Dental Implants?

By: Dr. Jacob Sheppard


While saving a natural tooth is always ideal, it may not always be possible. This is where dental implants come in. Implant dentistry provides patients the opportunity to restore the form and function of their teeth when facing the unavoidable loss of a tooth – or when one or more teeth are already missing. At Sycamore Family Dentistry in Midlothian, VA, Dr. Jacob Sheppard performs dental implant placement using the most advanced tools and technologies available today. Here, we’ll discuss some of the signs, symptoms, and scenarios that may point to the need for dental implants.

What is a dental implant?

It is helpful to first understand a little bit more about what dental implants are, how they’re placed, and what they do for a person’s smile. A common misconception regarding dental implants is that the term “implant” refers to the reconstructed tooth. Actually, the dental implant is the titanium screw that is placed in the patient’s jaw to support a crown, bridge, or another type of reconstruction.

The process of placing dental implants involves first assessing the patient’s dental and oral health. Should any issues be found, such as periodontal (gum) disease, these will need to be addressed prior to the placement of an implant. If the tooth being replaced is still present, it will need to be extracted. To place an implant, Dr. Sheppard first creates an incision in the patient’s gum. The screw is then inserted beneath the gum and into the jawbone. Over a period of several months, the implant will fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. This ensures the implant is structurally sound, stable, and able to support reconstruction. Finally, a custom-made reconstruction – like a crown – is attached to the implant with a connector piece, known as an abutment.

When are dental implants the best option?

Again, it is important to reiterate that saving a natural tooth is always preferred when possible. However, when a tooth has become compromised and can’t be restored or saved, dental implants offer the next best opportunity for restoring a patient’s smile. Furthermore, placing dental implants vs. leaving a gap in your smile is essential for preserving the bone structure and protecting the overall health of your mouth. Some of the most common situations when dental implants may be the most appropriate course of action include:

  • Tooth knocked out
  • Tooth never grew in (missing adult tooth)
  • Cracked tooth that can’t be repaired
  • Severe tooth decay that can’t be reversed
  • Dentures are causing pain, problems, issues with eating, etc.
  • Patients prefer a long-term restoration

During your initial consultation for dental implants in Midlothian, VA, Dr. Sheppard will thoroughly assess your dental and oral health, discuss your concerns and goals, and determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. With an experienced provider, patience throughout the dental implant process, and good oral hygiene, dental implants can help you restore a beautiful, strong smile that lasts a lifetime.

Have confidence in your smile with implant dentistry in Midlothian, VA

If you are self-conscious about your missing teeth or want to replace your removable restorations with something more permanent and functional, dental implants may be right for you. Take the first step toward a stunning, low-maintenance smile today by calling Sycamore Family Dentistry to schedule your private consultation with top Midlothian, VA dentist Dr. Jacob Sheppard.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.