Dental Implants: Exploring Your Options

The goal of every dentist is to help their patients preserve their natural teeth. However, teeth can still sometimes be lost as a result of injury, illness, or age. Living without your complete smile can take a toll on your quality of life. Missing teeth can make it difficult to speak normally and continue enjoying all of your favorite foods. They can also change a person's appearance, impacting one's self-esteem. Plus, missing teeth can result in the deterioration of the jawbone and harm the health of a person's remaining natural teeth. 

Thankfully, modern dentistry offers several strategies for replacing missing teeth to restore the form and function of a patient's smile. One of the most beneficial, effective, and versatile tooth-replacement treatment options is a dental implant. 

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a dental prosthetic designed to mimic and replace a lost tooth. A traditional dental implant consists of three parts:

  • Implant Anchor - The implant anchor is a screw-shaped prosthetic made of durable, biocompatible metal. It is implanted directly in the jawbone to mimic a natural tooth's root system. Through the healing process, an implant anchor becomes osseointegrated with the jawbone, creating a strong and sturdy support system for a tooth replacement. 
  • Implant Abutment - The implant abutment is also made of biocompatible metal. This portion of the dental implant connects to the anchor and supports a dental restoration. 
  • Dental Restoration - The dental restoration is the only visible portion of a dental implant. It can be a dental crown, dental bridge, or a full or partial denture. The restoration is designed to look and work just like a patient's natural tooth (or teeth). 

Why Are Dental Implants So Highly Recommended? The Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants offer patients several benefits and advantages. Primarily, they look, work, and feel just like natural teeth. They are a sturdy, comfortable tooth replacement option that is designed to restore a patient's smile and confidence. Dental implants are also designed to last a lifetime. 

Additionally, dental implants provide stimulation to the jawbone similar to the stimulation and pressure they receive from natural tooth roots. This triggers bone generation and helps to maintain a strong, healthy jawbone. As a result, neighboring teeth are prevented from shifting or becoming otherwise compromised. Plus, the patient's physical appearance is preserved in conjunction with the jawbone's structure. 

Dental Implant Treatment Applications: How Are Dental Implants Used?

A versatile treatment option, dental implants can be used in several ways to replace one or more missing teeth. 

Single Implants

Single implants can be topped with dental crowns to replace individual missing teeth on a one-for-one replacement basis. 

Implant-Supported Dental Bridge

One or more dental implants can be used to replace multiple consecutive missing teeth by supporting a dental bridge. 

Implant-Supported Dentures (All-on-Four or Overdentures)

Several strategically placed dental implants can support a full or partial denture to replace all or most of a patient's teeth.

Implant-supported dentures can be permanent (all-on-four). In these cases, they are usually attached to four, six, or eight strategically placed dental implants. They can also be removable (overdentures or snap-on dentures). In these cases, they are designed to snap onto a set of dental implants. 

What to Expect When Getting Dental Implants: The Dental Implant Treatment Process

Every patient is unique, so every patient's treatment plan is a little different. In general, however, patients can expect to encounter the following treatment steps when getting dental implants. 

Consultation and Diagnostic Imaging

The first step is always a consultation. During this appointment, our dentist examines your mouth and talks with you about your treatment needs and expectations. We also take diagnostic images to assist with the development of our personalized treatment plan and the design of your dental restorations. 

Bone Grafting Procedure

The jawbone must be adequately strong and provide enough mass to support a dental implant. If the jawbone is weak or has deteriorated, then a bone graft might be necessary prior to the placement of a dental implant. 

A bone grafting procedure is followed by a period of healing and bone generation. After enough time has passed, our dentist will take new diagnostic images to assess the patient's bone structure and determine a date for placing the dental implant. 

Implant Placement Procedure

Once the jawbone is ready, the dental implant is placed in the jawbone with a fairly simple oral surgery. The implant placement is followed by a lengthy healing period. During this time, the jawbone becomes osseointegrated with the dental implant, fusing the implant to the jawbone and creating a sturdy bond. 

Abutment Placement Procedure

Once healed, our dentist can attach the abutment to the dental implant. Depending on how a patient's gum tissues have healed around the implant anchor, this procedure may also need to be followed with a period of healing. 

Dental Restoration Placement

Placing a dental restoration is the final treatment step. Once the patient's soft tissues are completely healed, the dental restoration can be attached to the dental implant abutment. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Dental Implants?

Depending on the patient's treatment needs, how long a tooth has been missing, the patient's healing speed, and the number of implants being placed, the length of treatment can vary greatly. For some, treatment can be completed within a few months. For others, treatment might require 12 to 18 months. 

Appointments for placing bone grafts or dental implants typically last about one to two hours. 

Are Dental Implants Painful?

Dental implant treatments are performed with local anesthesia and sedation, if necessary. This ensures that patients experience no pain or discomfort and minimal stress during their treatments. 

Pain during the healing process is typically minimal, and it can usually be adequately alleviated with over-the-counter pain medications and/or a cold compress. 

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

The cost of dental implants can vary greatly depending on the patient's individual treatment needs, the number of implants required, and the type of dental restoration the patient is getting. On average, dental implants can range between $1,000 to $3,000 per implant. 

Dental implants are typically considered restorative treatments which means that the cost or a portion of the cost is often covered by dental insurance. Our team can provide you with an estimated cost for your personal treatment plan and help you determine how much your insurance will pay. 

Find Out If Dental Implants Are Right for You With Our Dentist in Gilbert

If you are missing one or more teeth, you do not have to endure the frustration of living with a diminished quality of life. Our advanced biomimetic technology paired with dental implants and implant-supported dental restorations can restore your smile to its natural form and full function so that you can eat anything, speak naturally, smile brightly, and enjoy continued good oral health just like you always have.

The experienced and dedicated team at Dr. Schiffenhaus DMD is here to assist you on your journey to a fully restored smile. From consultation to full restoration, we are here to answer your questions and provide you with support throughout the treatment process. To learn more about dental implants or request a consultation with our dentist in Phoenix, we welcome you to contact our office today. 

We look forward to meeting you.
Call 480-830-5003 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.

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