what are dental implants?

Missing teeth are a common problem among adults in the US. If you are missing teeth, you deserve to know all of your options for replacement. Dental implants are not only the longest-lasting type of tooth replacement, they are also exceedingly durable, effective and lifelike. Dr. Nathan Tenney is driven by restoring his patients' confidence in their smiles. Dental implants can give you back an attractive smile and healthy, comfortable bite. To find out if you are a candidate, please call our experienced staff at 602.734.0050.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root: It replaces the missing tooth root, which is the portion of a tooth lying beneath your gums. A dental crown, dental bridge or implant-supported denture (all of which are known as the "prosthesis") is then affixed to the abutment of the dental implant to replace the upper, visible portion of the tooth.

Dr. Tenney knows there is a lot of information available about replacing missing teeth. Please see our implant dentistry questions page and schedule a consult with our dentist for a personalized discussion.

Dental implants are placed in the jaw beneath your gums. This fact makes them different from any other kind of tooth replacement system. Implantation within the bone makes these restorations stable, secure and comfortable in your mouth. The success rate for dental implants is very high, and it is rare for an implant to be rejected.

As you can see below, the dental implant is placed in the bone at the site of the missing tooth

implant01
implant abutment crown

The abutment is the connecting piece that joins the prosthesis to the dental implant. Sometimes the abutment is placed at the same time as a dental implant, but they are most often placed after the bone and the implant have been allowed adequate time to fuse together:

implant trio

Below is a close up of a zirconium abutment. It is made by a sophisticated CAD-CAM system and is the current state-of-the-art abutment in aesthetic areas. The second photo shows the porcelain crown seated over the zirconium abutment and it blends perfectly with the dental veneers that are present on the adjacent teeth. No metal is present to cause discoloration at the gum line. The appearance will be as lifelike in the years ahead as it is today:

zirabutment

Zirconium Implant Abutment

porcrown

All Porcelain Implant Crown

Once bone and dental implant have fused, the abutment is placed on top of the post of the implant. Then the permanent restoration (often a dental crown) is affixed to the abutment. A row of crowns known as a dental bridge is another option for restoring the teeth:

implant02
prothesis 2

dental implant supported dentures

In addition to dental crowns and dental bridges, dentures can be affixed to dental implants. The two types of denture are "fixed" and "removable." If you want removable dentures, a bar attachment is placed on the dental implants, so that the denture can be clipped on and off:

dentureimplant01

A fixed, non-removable denture is fitted to a frame that is secured to the dental implants. Five or more dental implants are placed along the contour of the jaw to support this frame:

dentureimplant02

To custom fit the prosthesis to your mouth, we will take impressions of your jaws, teeth and abutments. Bite registrations are also made to allow the new teeth to fit together properly. Your input is needed to select final colors, shapes and length of the new teeth.


candidates for dental implants

Many people who are interested in dental implants are good candidates for this type of restoration; however, a consultation with Dr. Tenney is necessary to discuss your candidacy. Dental implants may be a good option for you if you are:

  • Missing one or more teeth
  • Looking for an effective, long-term (potentially permanent) way to replace missing teeth
  • Interested in preventing loss of other teeth in the future
  • In good overall health

Because these restorations are embedded within the bone beneath your gums, you must have healthy, adequate bone in that area. If you do not, Dr. Tenney may recommend a bone graft, and also describe what your other options are if you decide dental implants are not meeting your expectations for a tooth replacement.

The only way to know if you are a candidate is to meet with our dentist. Your consultation will include a discussion of your wishes and priorities, and it will include an exam, medical history and imaging so that Dr. Tenney has all the information he needs to determine if dental implants are an option.


the dental implant process

what to expect

After your consultation, if you have decided to move forward with dental implants, the next phase will be planning. At Desert Smiles, we use Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT), a 3D Cone Beam scanner, to plan an accurate, optimized dental implant procedure.

With our Plameca ProMax 3D Mid, the top-of-the-line CBCT imaging system, Dr. Tenney can produce a comprehensive and complete picture of your jaw and teeth, along with surrounding nerves, enabling him to see the finest details of the treatment area, up to and including the sinuses. This visualization assists Dr. Tenney in finding the optimum location to place the dental implant. Here are two images of how the scan looks on a computer monitor:

teeth health pic 1
teeth health pic 4

procedure

We work with trusted implant surgeons in our area to place the dental implant in the bone. After that procedure, our dentist will manage the placement of the prosthesis. We will ensure you receive the prosthesis you want and that it creates a smile appearance you can be proud of. He uses advanced restorations in the shade of your choosing.

recovery

Dental implant recovery consists of two phases as described below.

  • Initial recovery: After your surgery, you may feel a little sore and experience swelling for several days. This phase concludes relatively quickly for most people. You'll need to do nothing but rest for one full day, or possibly a few days depending on how you feel and the nature of your procedure. After that, you should feel well enough to go back to work and your normal activities.
  • Long-term recovery: During this time, the dental implant fuses and integrates with the bone, which is a process known as "osseointegration." This phase may take several months to reach full recovery. During this time you will wear a temporary restoration so that your smile looks normal. You may need to avoid certain sticky, crunchy and hard foods as outlined by our team. You will also not be allowed to smoke, if you are a smoker, as smoking significantly increases the risk of dental implant failure.

Dr. Tenney wants to provide you with an outstanding tooth replacement, a comfortable experience and a successful recovery. During your consultation and the appointments leading up to dental implant placement, Dr. Tenney and our team will make sure you have all the information pertaining to your recovery, and that we describe all of your options for minimizing any post-op pain.


contact us

If you want to restore your smile by replacing missing teeth with dental implants, please call Desert Smiles at 602.734.0050. An experienced dentist passionate about providing life-enhancing results, We are proud to serve people from Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria and all of the surrounding areas in Arizona.

treat your smile to the love it deserves

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