Dental Implants Questions

Glendale Dentist Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and nearby areas in Arizona

Scottsdale Dental Implants Patient

What are the benefits of tooth replacement with dental implants?

When you are missing one or more natural teeth, it can drastically affect your appearance as well as your overall outlook on life. Dental implants from Desert Smiles Cosmetic & Sedation Dentistry, Scottsdale implant dentist, Dr. Wilcox in Arizona permanently restore your full, natural smile, boosting your self-confidence and your appearance. Dental implants are more comfortable than dentures and also prevent the jawbone deterioration that occurs when missing teeth are not replaced.

What distinguishes an "implant dentist" from other dentists? 

An implant dentist has the training and clinical experience necessary to specialize in this area of restorative dentistry. Carrying the title "implant dentist" means your Phoenix dentist accummulated numerous continuing education courses and clinical practicum to master the tools and technology necessary to successfully complete dental implant surgery.

How much do dental implants cost?

The cost of your dental implant procedure depends on how many teeth need replaced. The more teeth that need replaced, more implants are typically required to support the restorations that fill in your smile. However, sometimes multiple replacement teeth can be supported by one dental implant, so contact Desert Smiles for a free dental implant consultation and cost estimate with Dr. Wilcox. In your dental implant consultation, you can ask Dr. Wilcox about dental implant financing.

Are there other tooth replacement options besides dental implants?

While dental implants are the most permanent and natural-looking tooth replacement option, Dr. Wilcox at Desert Smiles also provides fixed dental bridges and full or partial dentures. Dr. Wilcox uses aesthetically appealing all-porcelain dental bridges with a zirconium core for added strength and durability. Both dental bridges and natural-looking overlay dentures can be anchored with dental implants for added stability. Dr. Wilcox will help you determine which tooth replacement option best suits your needs and restores your brilliant smile.

What are the different stages and time required for each phase?

The number of stages and time frame for each implant and restoration will vary from patient to patient.

If you are already missing a tooth or teeth where implants are going to be placed and a 3D CAT scan shows adequate bone, following placement of the implant(s) you can proceed to the final restoration phase in approximately 3 months. If bone grafting was required at time of implant placement, 4-6 months are required for proper healing prior to restoration. If a tooth or teeth need extracting see question below.

Can I have a tooth removed and an implant placed at the same appointment?

  1. A: If you have a tooth or teeth to remove the scenario depends on the amount of bone the 3D CAT scan shows. If the bone is adequate and a significant infection does not exist in the area, and the tooth can be removed without damaging the remaining bone, the implant can be placed the same day. It can be restored in 4-6 months depending if grafting was needed at time of implant placement.
  2. B: If adequate bone exists but there is significant infection in the area, the tooth can be removed and the implant placed in a couple of weeks following extraction. The implant can be restored in 4-6 months depending if grafting was required at time of implant placement.
  3. C: If there is not adequate bone present, the tooth or teeth are removed, a bone graft is placed and allowed to heal for at least four months prior to implant placement.

Do you do the teeth in one day I hear advertised in all the local media?

Yes and No! We will always provide you with a temporary tooth or teeth while your implants are healing so you will not have to go with an unsightly space or no teeth at all. But we will not place immediate load on our implants as the literature shows there is a greater chance of failure when implants are loaded immediately with the bone not being fully healed or integrated. To save a few months but decrease your chance of long term success is not a good idea in our minds and experience.

What is the advantage of a 3D CAT scan prior to implant placement?

Traditional implant placement was and is still done freehand without a 3D scan. In most cases we do a scan prior to an implant procedure for several excellent reasons. It allows us to measure the available bone to the accuracy of .1mm and pick out the best size and position for an implant prior to surgery. This allows us to construct a surgical guide which places the implant in the exact position predetermined. We can also do the surgery without any flaps or sutures since we do not need to visually see the bone to guide us to implant placement. All the vital structures such as nerves, adjacent teeth, sinuses, etc., can be seen on the scan and their avoidance factored into the surgical guide.

This same software also design’s the restoration at the same time so we can be sure the implant is placed where is best for the restoration to follow. This is extremely critical when you are placing implants in the areas that will show when you smile. When the implant is placed without planning for the final restoration, often times the final cosmetic result is compromised.

Is there a risk of infection with implants?

Yes, but fortunately the frequency is low. An infection is possible at the time of implant placement. Antibiotics normally will virtually eliminate this from happening. In a small percentage of cases, the bone does not heal or integrate around the implant in the weeks and months following placement. If this occurs, in most cases the implant can be removed, the area grafted and a new implant placed with success.

Other causes of failure can be poor home care and gum health around the implant. Implants should be cleaned just like natural teeth and checked regularly by your dentist. Excessive bite forces on implants can cause the bone to be lost around implants also. Frequent checkups can often find these breakdowns in the early stages and preemptive action can be taken before the implant actually fails. Be sure you provide your complete medical history and medications you are taking. Certain medical conditions such as smoking and diabetes can increase your chance of implant failure and infection.

What circumstances are best for dentures over implants?

Anytime adequate bone exists to place implants to support and secure a denture it by far the best way to go. The denture has added retention from some sort of attachment to the implants. The implants provide support for the biting pressure instead of the jawbone in a traditional denture. This provide much better comfort and less tissue pressure and sore spots and preserves the jawbone structure long term much better than tissue supported traditional dentures.

How are dentures anchored with implants?

By a variety of mechanisms, such as male/female type clips or attachments, bars with attachments, or screws. The number of implants present and the type of restoration you are having placed over them will determine the best system. The appliances can be designed to be removed daily for cleaning (most common), or fixed for less frequent removal or permanently placed. Having an appliance that is very stable and secure for function, and yet able to be removed for daily cleaning is usually the best to preserve implant health.

I am missing one tooth. Is it better to do a bridge or implant?

In most cases an implant will be superior and have more longevity provided it can be placed in good bone that is positioned for a proper restoration. The positioning becomes even more critical in the smile zone and why we do most of our implants with a 3D CAT scan and software designed guided surgery. Implants add support and preserve the tooth structure of the adjacent teeth that a bridge preparation takes away.

If the teeth on either side of your space need restoration due to large fillings or poor appearance, then the bridge would be a viable option to accomplish the replacement of the missing tooth and restoration of the adjacent teeth all at once.

Are bone grafts always needed when you get an implant?

No, only when inadequate bone exists to properly support the implant. With the 3D CAT scan and software design, we are better able to try different positions and sizes of implants prior to surgery to lessen the need for grafting and help keep your costs lower.

I am apprehensive about having an implant. Do you offer sedation?

We offer oral sedation for all dental procedures. Most of our patients find implant placement to be quite comfortable with local anesthetic or local with nitrous oxide. But if you are apprehensive about the procedure, by all means use the sedation.

If you have more questions about dental implants in Glendale, Phoenix, or Scottsdale, Arizona, please contact the experienced dental implant specialists at Desert Smiles Cosmetic & Sedation Dentistry for a free implant dentistry consultation.