Dr. Robert S. Wood and Dr. Nicholas J. Coles are experts in dental implant consultations and procedures in Tucson, AZ. If you want to replace your missing teeth, dental implants are designed to look and function just like natural teeth. In addition to restoring your ability to eat and smile confidently, dental implants also prevent bone loss and other problems associated with tooth loss. Dental professionals often recommend implants as the first option you should consider when replacing missing teeth.
Dental implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth in a row, or even an entire arch of missing teeth. When you come in for a consultation, your oral surgeon will review your situation and discuss all of your treatment options with you. Not everyone can receive dental implants, so it’s important to see a specialist for an evaluation before pursuing treatment.
What is a dental implant?
The root of a natural tooth firmly holds your tooth in place so that you can bite and tear tough foods. Dental implants are essentially prosthetic tooth roots that secure your replacement teeth in place. Just like a natural tooth’s root, dental implants create a secure foundation for your new crowns or prosthetic teeth.
Each dental implant consists of three parts. The post is a medical-grade titanium screw that is inserted into your jaw by an oral surgeon. Titanium has natural properties that allow it to integrate with the bone beneath your gums, creating a strong hold for your new teeth. Once the post is securely bonded with your bone, an abutment will be attached to it. This abutment is a connector piece between the post and your new prosthesis. You can have a single crown, multi-tooth bridge, or sometimes even a full fixed denture attached to your implants, depending on your condition.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants are an excellent tooth replacement option for patients who are healthy enough to undergo outpatient dental procedures. Unlike more traditional tooth replacement options, dental implants restore both looks and full functionality to your teeth. Below are a few of the benefits of dental implants:
- Beautiful, natural-looking teeth
- Longest-lasting tooth replacement (can last a lifetime with proper care)
- Most similar to a natural tooth
- Prevents bone loss and dental shifting
- Secure hold allows patients to eat whatever they like (no movement or slipping)
Contact our office in Tucson, AZ, to schedule a consultation and find out if dental implants are right for you. Our surgeons will be happy to evaluate your situation and help you find a solution that works for you.
Dental Implant Procedure Overview
The dental implant process usually involves one consultation visit, one surgery visit, and a follow-up visit to place your abutments. Sometimes immediate-loading implants can be used, in which case the follow-up visit will just be to ensure your implants are healing properly. The right implant procedure for you will depend on your specific condition: some patients need bone grafting before implant placement, others may need to wear temporaries while their implant sites heal. Your specific condition and goals will be taken into consideration before any treatments are recommended.
In general, after your consultation appointment, you will return for surgery. Your surgeon will first administer your anesthesia. Next, the implant posts will be placed into the empty tooth sockets. After lifting the gum tissue, the surgeon will create a small space for the titanium post. Once the implants are placed, the surgical sites will be sutured, and you will rest until the anesthesia wears off. Most single-implant procedures only last between 30 and 60 minutes. Multiple implant procedures or full-arch restorations, typically referred to as the All-on-4® treatment, Teeth-in-a-Day, or DIEM® full-arch replacement, usually last between one and three hours.
Once the surgery is over, you will be taken home to rest. You will need a driver to bring you home if you received IV anesthesia. The recovery period can differ depending on your condition and the number of implants you received. Usually, patients are back to their regular schedules after just a week or two, but full chewing function will be restored after several weeks to a few months of healing. Once your surgeon finds that the surgery sites have healed properly, your dentist will be able to place your permanent teeth.
For patients who don’t want to go without teeth during the healing period, your dentist can often make temporary teeth for you to wear while you wait. Once your permanents are placed, the implant process is complete, and you can enjoy your new smile.
Dental Implants in Tucson, AZ
If you live near Tucson, AZ, and you are considering dental implants, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons. Our surgeons have years of experience helping patients find tooth loss solutions that fit their needs.