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What are Dental Implants? Washington, DC

There are many options available for people who are missing teeth. Though all options are available at DC Precision Dentistry located in Washington DC, dental implants are actually the best solution due to their overwhelming benefits. They are better for your overall and oral health. With growing popularity, many people want to learn more about what dental implants are and how they work.

Dental implants are made of up three parts, making them closely resemble natural teeth. The dentist office of Dr. Justin H. Deckard, located in Washington DC, offers many types of dental implants for patients missing one, multiple, and even all of their teeth.

dental implants graphic

3 Main Parts of a Dental Implant

Dental implants typically have 3 separate parts; the implant, the abutment, and the prosthesis.

Dental Implant Post

The implant itself (known as the fixture) is a screw-like post that is placed in the jaw bone. The post is made up of titanium, a type of metal known for its strength and ability to fuse with the parts of the human body. A process called osseointegration takes place where the bone cells attach themselves to the fixture creating a very strong bond.

Even though this metal post is very light and small, it is actually durable enough to support the dental restoration. An implant is cylinder-shaped, resembling a typical screw. A dental implant will actually replace the missing tooth’s root making them the only teeth replacement option to replace the root structure. This is will prevent bone loss in the jaw, a major downfall with other dental restorations.


An abutment is a tiny metal piece that is connected to the implant post after it is fully healed. It typically takes about three to six months for the fixture to heal and fuse with the jaw bone. After that, another minor surgery is needed to uncover the implant, and an abutment will be screwed or cemented to the fixture. The abutment will sit right at the gum line and will support the dental prosthesis.


The prosthesis is the last part to be added and will look and function like a real tooth/teeth. With advances in dental technology, restorations can be made from different materials that will look just like natural teeth and will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile. The kind of prosthesis you need depends on the number of teeth you are missing and where they are located. A dental crown is typically used when a single tooth is missing.

It will be cemented or screwed onto the abutment. For multiple missing teeth, Dr. Deckard will restore them with either a bridge or denture. A dental bridge is typically used for multiple consecutive missing teeth. These types of prostheses can be secured to the abutment by snapping them into place, permanently fixed in place with tiny screws, or cemented into place. We offer dental restorations that are color-matched to blend seamlessly with your natural teeth.


How long do dental implant posts last?

Dental implant posts can last a lifetime if you care for them properly. However, the success of a tooth implant will depend on oral hygiene and regular dental exams. A patient must also avoid behaviors that could damage the tooth implant and surrounding teeth. While the tooth implant post is long-lasting, the dental crown or prosthesis on top may need replacement every 10-15 years. This is due to wear and tear.

What is an abutment on a tooth?

An abutment on a tooth is an artificial part that attaches to the natural tooth structure after dental restoration. Oral surgeons use them after they place a dental crown tooth implant or prosthesis. An abutment serves as the connection between the dental restoration and the surrounding teeth. It also helps provide support to hold it in place. Lastly, the abutment plays an essential role in helping create an esthetically pleasing final result.

What is the best age for dental implants?

The best age for dental implant placement is typically between 18 and 65. Most dentists will not recommend tooth implants for patients under 18. However, the ideal age for tooth implants is 25 or older. Long-term studies have shown that age 25 is when the jawbone and tissue are most stable and fully developed. The most important factors are good overall health, sufficient jawbone density, and proper oral hygiene. Consult a dentist or oral surgeon to evaluate your unique situation.

Can I get a dental implant years after extraction?

Yes, you can get a dental implant years after a tooth extraction. However, since you had the extraction, your jawbone might have experienced some resorption or shrinkage. Your oral surgeon will require a bone graft to build up the jawbone density and create a solid foundation for the tooth implant. A bone graft will help ensure a successful tooth implant. It’s important to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon who can evaluate your situation.

Does plaque build up on tooth implants?

Dental implants themselves don’t get plaque buildup, but the surrounding gum tissue and natural teeth can accumulate plaque. To prevent this, maintain good oral hygiene and attend regular dental exams and cleanings. Proper dental implant care will help prevent gum disease and other potential dental problems.

What are the three types of dental implants?

The three types of dental implants are endosteal, subperiosteal, and zygomatic implants. Endosteal implants are the most common type of tooth implant. The oral surgeon places them directly into the jawbone. On the other hand, oral surgeons position subperiosteal implants on the jawbone but beneath the gum tissue. Zygomatic implants are less common. Oral surgeons use them in cases where the patient has an insufficient jawbone. Oral surgeons place zygomatic implants in the cheekbone instead of the jaw.

Choose Dr. Deckard for Dental Implants

Dr. Deckard is a talented and experienced dental implant dentist. He is capable of performing all phases of the dental implant process at his dentist office in Washington DC. This will save you travel time to other offices and the hassle of additional bills.

Learn More About Dental Implants