What are dental implants?
With today’s medical advancements we can replace either a single tooth or all of your missing teeth with dental implants! Implants are cosmetic, strong and long-lasting. They are considered the best replacement option for missing teeth. They’re also not susceptible to decay since they’re metal and ceramic.
A dental implant is a titanium anchor placed in your jaw just below the gumline which serves as support for your tooth just like a natural tooth root.
What is the process of dental implant therapy?
Any treatment plan should start with a thorough exam, medical history record, x-rays and possibly a C.T. scan of the jaw. This will help us to plan your surgery ahead of time and ensure a desirable outcome. At the second appointment, the doctor will get your jaw numb and place the implant. This appointment is no more invasive than a tooth removal and will usually take an hour for one implant. Post-operative symptoms are minimal and usually well tolerated with a prescription pain reliever for a couple of days. Although we can deliver “Teeth in a day” (for full-arch implant-retained ceramic or hybrid) individual tooth implants need a 3-4 months waiting period before the final crown or bridge can be cemented. This waiting period is needed to give the surrounding bone time to grow and fuse to the implant. This process is called “osseointegration” which is the key to success for any dental implant. Then after 3-4 months the crown and abutment are secured to the implant with two visits at which point treatment is completed. Dental implants are especially beneficial for denture wearers. Traditional dentures are loose fitting making chewing and speaking very difficult and adhesives most often are needed. They also cause more bone loss over time. The improvement to lifestyle and function with implant-retained dentures are immense. Ask anyone you know that traded their dentures for implants and hear what they have to say!
Dental implants can be used to anchor and support teeth with four different prosthetic mechanisms:
1. Single tooth implant. Here you would have one implant placed to support one abutment and crown to replace a single missing tooth.
2. Fixed bridge. Are you missing a few teeth in the lower right jaw? The fixed bridge is suitable for situations where 3-5 teeth are missing. For example, 2 implants could serve to replace and support 3 missing teeth to which a 3-unit bridge is permanently cemented or screwed into place. This type of prosthesis is not removable by the patient.
3. Acrylic Implant Overdenture. All dentures are made of acrylic. If you’re missing all of your teeth in one arch, we can place 2-6 implants to support a whole denture. Your denture would then securely snap in place. This set-up provides the durable stability and support needed to chew hard, soft or sticky foods with more ease and comfort than traditional tissue-supported dentures. It is retained by male & female snaps on the implants and in the denture. This type of prosthesis is removable by the patient for daily cleaning.
4. Full arch ceramic or hybrid screw-retained. This is also known as “Teeth in a day”. This type of appliance also replaces a whole arch of teeth like the implant overdenture but does even more… Unlike the overdenture, there is no acrylic covering the palate. For this reason, it is preferred for the upper arch. It is a smooth and streamlined arch-shaped prosthesis with no acrylic flanges or bulk. Also, a full bridge or hybrid is screwed into place permanently, as opposed to an implant-overdenture. One can expect 4-5 implants for support. This type of prosthesis is not removable by the patient. It should be removed by the dentist for periodic cleanings.
How do I get started?
Exam and Screening: Like with any medical procedure, we will first conduct a screening and exam which includes necessary x-rays, intra-oral photos and a thorough medical history. We may also need a C.T. scan of the area of the jaw where we intend to place the implant(s). Your medical history will include information such as medications being taken, current and past medical conditions and a history of prior surgical procedures. Some medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes can adversely affect the success rates of dental implants so we might consult with your medical doctor as needed.
Treatment Plan & Cost: Once you’ve completed the screening and your case is deemed favorable we produce a treatment plan and, in some cases, submit it to your insurance company for approval. This way we can inform you of anticipated out of pocket costs and schedule your surgery date.
Day of Treatment: For most implant procedures, patients are given an oral sedative to aid in relaxation as well as the expected local anesthetic to numb the area. Larger cases may require I.V. sedation although this is a rare exception. The procedure can take anywhere from one to four hours depending on how many implants are being placed and the complexity of the case. You can expect to be on an antibiotic for one week following the procedure and mild pain medications.
Our Office location:
832 S Greenfield Rd #104
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Office: (480) 788-5900
Fax: (480) 247-6711
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - 11AM–7PM
Wednesday - 11AM–7PM
Thursday - Closed
Friday - 8AM–5PM
Saturday & Sunday - Closed