If you have lost a single tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants offer an innovative replacement solution. Designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth, dental implants are a major focus here at Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona. Our oral surgeons are certified by the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and have the extensive training and experience necessary to perform dental implant procedures that produce the best possible results. Unlike many general dentistry practices, Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona can provide comprehensive dental implant treatment right here under one roof, without the need to refer patients out to other specialists. Advanced dental implants from our practice can improve the function of your teeth and the appearance of your smile with results that can last for decades!
What Are Dental Implants?
The dental implant is genuinely one of the most revolutionary developments the field of reconstructive dentistry has ever seen. Designed to replace missing teeth anywhere in the mouth, dental implants are made of titanium posts that are inserted into the gum and anchored to the jawbone. During a process called osseointegration, the implant should then fuse to the jawbone, mimicking the function of a natural tooth root. A custom dental crown is then affixed to the top of the implant. Ultimately, dental implants should look and feel like natural teeth, lasting many years with the proper care.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer a full range of advantages over dentures and other traditional procedures designed to replace missing teeth. Some of the many potential benefits of dental implants include:
Long-lasting results that look, feel, and function like original teeth
Improved speaking and chewing
Improved smile aesthetics
Can be used to replace a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth
No movement or slippage along the gums
No dental adhesives, putties, or pastes required
No dependence on adjacent teeth for support
Can reduce the likelihood of bone loss and other oral health problems in the area of missing teeth
Other than daily brushing and flossing, no additional maintenance is required
Dental implants can also be used to enhance support for a partial denture or an All-On-4® fixed hybrid as an alternative to traditional dentures. We use only the best dental implant products at our practice, including implants from Nobel Biocare®, Straumann®, Dentsply (formerly Astra), Biomet 3i™, and BioHorizons®. Our oral surgeons will talk with you about the best option for your needs and goals during your initial consultation.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Bill Duncan Testimonial
“The whole team and Dr Golding is awesome and took really good care of me. I was so nervous getting the implant but it went smoothly.”
October 23, 2018
Bone Grafting Prior to Dental Implants
For individuals who do not have an adequate amount of bone density in the jaw to accommodate a dental implant, bone grafting can often provide an effective solution. This treatment involves the placement of a small bone graft on the jawbone under the missing tooth. The small bone should fuse to the larger bone, enhancing density and increasing the chance that an implant will successfully remain securely in place.
Learn more about bone grafting.
What is the Difference Between an Oral Surgeon and a General Dentist?
General and family dentistry oversee essential preventative and restorative care to help with long-term oral health. In addition to routine dental exams and x-rays, dentists most often provide gum care, dental fillings, root canals, veneers, bridges, crowns, and other procedures. However, patients will often need to see oral and maxillofacial surgeons to treat a variety of conditions affecting the face, mouth, and jaw.
Oral surgeons are medical doctors who receive extensive training for several years after completing dental school requirements, as well as specialized experience and rigorous testing to diagnose and treat:
- Missing teeth
- Teeth that require surgical extraction
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Inadequate jawbone structure
- TMJ Disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder)
- Tumors and cysts of the jaws
- Accident injuries (face, jaws, mouth, and teeth)
- Oral cancer and other diseases in the maxillofacial region
- Other conditions in the oral and maxillofacial areas
Your primary dentist will generally refer you to an oral surgeon for these more complex treatments. Oral surgeons who have been certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS), as are Dr. Golding and Dr. Sabol at Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona, are examples of doctors who have very high levels of experience and skill in their field.
What Does the Dental Implant Procedure Involve?
Once you are determined to be a good candidate for dental implants, one of our experienced oral surgeons will create a customized treatment plan. Detailed x-rays and computer-generated maps of your oral structures will be developed and used as a precise surgical guide for placement of the dental implants. In many cases, dental implants can be placed utilizing local anesthesia. They will be carefully and meticulously inserted into the gum in the area of the missing teeth, and then securely anchored to the jawbone. Over the next few months, the implants should fuse to the bone and become a permanent fixture in your mouth, much like a natural tooth root. Temporary crowns can be placed on the implants during this period. Once bone fusion has occurred, the permanent dental crowns will be attached to the top of the implant posts. These crowns are completely customized to create results that fit comfortably and function like natural teeth. The crowns will be given a final polish, and then you should be ready to walk out of our office with a brand new smile!
What Can I Expect During Recovery from the Dental Implant Procedure?
View our section on Care Instructions After Dental Implant Surgery to learn more about what to expect during recovery.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
One of the major benefits of dental implants is their ability to last long into the future. With proper oral hygiene routines and regular dental check-ups, your dental implants should continue to enhance your smile for decades to come.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Our doctors utilize maximum safety precautions to reduce the risk of complications during dental implant procedures. While it is important to note that these treatments involve oral surgery, and surgical procedures always involve some degree of risk, Dr. Michael W. Golding and Dr. J. Gregory Sabol are extensively skilled and experienced with dental implant placement. The combination of our oral surgeons’ experience along with the use of advanced planning technology and treatment techniques can significantly diminish the potential for implant failure, infection, or other complications. We will also provide you with a list of post-operative instructions designed to help you achieve a safe and successful healing process.
Do Dental Implants Hurt?
Our oral surgeons prioritize comfort for patients during the dental implant treatment process. With the use of a local anesthetic, the treatment areas should be thoroughly numbed, and any discomfort should be minimized. For patients who would like even greater assurance that they will experience a virtually pain-free procedure, we offer a full array of advanced sedation and anesthesia techniques—including nitrous oxide, I-V sedation, and general anesthesia. Dr. Golding and Dr. Sabol are certified by the National Dental Board of Anesthesia and are committed to helping patients feel as comfortable as possible during treatment.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
What Are Some Alternatives to Regular Dental Implants?
Our practice offers a number of advanced treatments that utilize other types of dental implant techniques. During the initial consultation, our doctor will talk with you about all of the options available and help you determine the right treatment for your needs. Other dental implant options include:
Zygomatic Dental Implants
Zygomatic implants offer an innovative option for patients who have severe bone loss in the upper part of the jaw. These advanced implants are longer than traditional dental implants and are anchored to the strong area of bone that’s part of the cheekbone. Zygomatic dental implants do not require a bone grafting treatment and can be placed in a single surgical procedure. Patients who have lost bone density in the upper jaw due to gum disease, tooth loss, or other reasons may have been previously told they are not candidates for dental implants. With zygomatic implants, these patients may now qualify for the procedure. Our practice is very proud to offer these state-of-the-art implants, which can serve as a unique alternative for many patients who suffer from missing teeth.
Learn more about zygomatic dental implants.
All-On-4® Implant Supported Fixed Hybrid Denture Alternative – “Teeth in a Day”
Implant supported fixed hybrid procedures can help patients who are missing multiple teeth add strength and stability to a denture appliance. The innovative All-On-4 technique utilizes four implants strategically placed on an upper or lower dental arch. A full custom denture is then securely affixed to the implants to provide a complete replacement of all missing teeth. All-On-4 can be a very effective option for patients who have lost all teeth on the upper and/or lower areas of their mouth. This “Teeth in a Day” procedure can also eliminate the need for bone grafting and an extended treatment process. With All-On-4, patients can arrive at our office with full rows of missing and leave their appointment with new teeth on the same day!
Learn more about the All-On-4 fixed hybrid denture alternative.
What Are the Negative Effects of Missing Teeth?
While missing teeth can have obvious and noticeable effects on dental function and smile aesthetics, it is important to know that they can cause a number of serious “hidden” consequences, as well. In fact, some of the negative effects of missing teeth may not even become apparent until serious damage has already developed. These effects can include:
Deterioration of the Jawbone
Existing teeth aid in the stimulation of jawbone growth. When one or more teeth are lost, the jawbone can deteriorate and weaken. This degradation can cause healthy teeth to loosen and potentially become fully dislodged.
Movement of Surrounding Teeth
When a tooth is missing, the existing teeth that surround it may begin to shift from their current position to fill the gap. This movement can ultimately result in severe misalignment, which can lead to chewing problems, bite irregularities, and effects on smile aesthetics.
Periodontal Disease, Gum Recession, and General Health Risks
Along with jawbone recession, gum recession can be caused by missing teeth, as well. This can lead to periodontal disease and other oral health problems. Gum disease has also been linked to increased risks of many conditions that can compromise overall health, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even certain types of cancer.
Alterations in Facial Appearance
The loss of several teeth can affect the distance between the nose and the chin. If the proper distance is not restored by replacing the missing teeth, a condition known as “facial collapse” may develop, which can lead to a significantly altered facial appearance and cause one to look much older than they truly are.
Virtually all of these effects can typically be prevented with treatment designed to replace missing teeth and reduce the risk of further harm to oral health, function, and appearance.
How to Choose the Right Implant Dentist
Dental implant procedures are quite complex and involve a number of steps. These treatments require your chosen implant dentist to be exceptionally well-trained and skilled in order to provide successful, long-lasting results that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Here are a few things to look for as you research your options:
Credentials, Experience, and Background
Please thoroughly review the professional history and credentials of your prospective oral surgeon/implant dentist. Since dental implant procedures require oral surgery and very precise treatment to ensure the implant succeeds and fits comfortably and naturally in the mouth, it is very important to get an idea of the doctor’s experience beforehand. For instance: Dr. Michael W. Golding and Dr. J. Gregory Sabol are not only skilled dentists but also board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons, enabling them to provide comprehensive dental implant procedures right here at our practice without having to refer patients to another office for specialist care.
Inquire About Dental Implant Success Rates
Ask the practice about their rate of success for dental implant procedures, and see if you can find out an approximate number of these procedures the prospective implant dentist has performed.
Inquire About Technology, Materials, and Techniques
Find out more about the advanced technology, implant and dental crown materials, and techniques the practice utilizes to make sure they are high-quality.
Meet for an Initial Consultation
When you’ve narrowed down your selection, you can use the initial consultation with the doctor to finalize your choice. This meeting gives you the opportunity to evaluate your rapport, ask any and all questions you may have, and determine your level of confidence and comfort with the prospective implant dentist. You should always feel that your concerns are being addressed in an honest and thorough manner, and you should feel that this particular doctor has the experience and skills necessary to provide you with the best possible care.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
Are dental implants covered by insurance?In some cases, dental implants may be a covered insurance benefit. Whether coverage is offered for this procedure will ultimately depend on each patient’s specific policy. A member of our oral surgery team can assist with questions regarding your insurance benefits and help determine whether your plan may offer at least partial coverage for dental implants.
Do dental implants look natural?The ability to yield results that both look and feel natural is one of the most prominent reasons why patients choose dental implants over other missing teeth replacement options. Since the dental implants and custom crowns are designed to simulate the function of original teeth right down to the root, these treatment options offer some of the most natural-looking outcomes of any restorative dentistry procedure.
How do dental implants feel?One of the comforting benefits of dental implants is their ability to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The implanted post should fuse with your jawbone – a process called osseointegration that typically completes after a few months – and be considered a permanent fixture of your mouth. After your dental implant heals it should feel as natural and strong as the surrounding teeth.
How do I clean dental implants?Cleaning dental implants often mirrors the same oral hygiene routine recommended for natural teeth. Proper care includes daily brushing and flossing, professional dental cleanings at least twice each year,, and routine visits to the dentist for x-rays and exams. Attending regular check-ups can promote early detection should any oral issues arise that may impact the health and longevity of your dental implants.
How many dental implants will I need?This will vary for each patient and will be determined during your initial consultation and planning visit with Dr. Golding or Dr. Sabol. Generally, the number of implants needed will depend on the number of teeth that are missing, the level of existing jawbone density in the treatment area, and the type of implants needed or preferred. These range from individual dental implants, implant-supported dentures, and other various implant options.
How long does it take to get dental implants?The exact length of the dental implant treatment process varies from patient to patient; however, for all individuals, there are multiple steps involved that will take place over a period of several months. Once the initial plans for implant placement are developed and the procedure has been performed, the implants will need an adequate amount of time to properly fuse to the jawbone. This “osseointegration” process can take just a few months for some patients; in others, it may take as much as six months before the implant post has securely fused to the bone. With this in mind, it’s important to note that temporary crowns can be placed on the implant posts during this period.
Are dental implants permanent?Once the implant post fully fuses and heals within the jawbone through osseointegration, it can be considered a permanent addition to the mouth, playing the same role as a natural tooth’s root. The dental restoration that will be affixed to the implant post, such as a crown or bridge, is also intended to last for many years, even decades, with proper oral care and routine check-ups.
Why do some dental implants fail?Although it is not very common, there can be rare occurrences in which a dental implant may fail. Generally, the malfunction can be caused by an infection at the implant site, disrupted fusion between the implant and bone, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, complications due to smoking, and lack of jawbone density to accommodate the implant. It’s important to choose a highly trained and experienced dental professional to entrust with the dental implant procedure from start to finish. Doing so can help limit the risk of complications, as well as properly address concerns if implant failure occurs.
How successful are dental implants?Dental implants can be extremely successful when placed by skilled providers and when patients are careful to comply with pre- and post-treatment care guidelines. Dental implant procedures should be performed by expertly trained doctors who deliver a full evaluation of the treatment and explanation of the materials and techniques to be used. They should also utilize advanced technology and placement techniques, and offer detailed post-surgery instructions for optimizing your oral health. When a good dental implant candidate follows these recommendations – such as daily oral care, routine follow-up appointments, professional cleanings, annual exams, and abstaining from smoking and tobacco use – it will typically increase the success potential of dental implants.
Are there certain foods I should avoid with dental implants?Once your dental implant treatment process is complete, you should not have to avoid any of your favorite foods. This is yet another advantage offered by dental implants over traditional dentures. With an implant’s ability to function like a natural tooth, there should be no issues with chewing certain foods that patients with conventional dentures are often asked to avoid.
Does smoking affect dental implants?According to clinical research, there are potential links between smoking and implant failure. Smoking can also negatively impact the healing process and increase the risk of infection. Our oral surgeons advise patients to stop smoking completely at least one month before they undergo a dental implant procedure. It is also extremely important that patients do not smoke after the procedure, so it is recommended to have a plan in place that can help ensure the habit is not started up again.
When is it too late to get dental implants?With a sufficient amount of jawbone density and good oral health, most individuals can have successful dental implant results regardless of age. If the proposed implant site needs a stronger foundation and supplementary bone mass, it may be required to have a bone grafting procedure prior to receiving dental implants. There are various bone grafting techniques to build up additional jawbone mass in the areas of the missing teeth where deterioration may be more prominent.
During your initial consultation, our oral surgeon will determine if dental implants are right for you, and if other treatments or alternative options are necessary
What are the differences between a dental implant and a dental bridge?Although dental implants and dental bridges can both serve as effective options for replacing one or more missing teeth, there are significant differences between the two treatments:
- Dental implants are considered to be a more permanent solution for tooth loss, as the post is surgically implanted to take over the function of the tooth’s root. It usually takes approximately four to six months for the implant post to fully fuse to the jawbone and, thereafter, a restoration such as a dental crown is affixed to the top of the post to complete the treatment.
- Alternatively, a dental bridge is a non-surgical option that uses dental crowns to fill the space of missing teeth by bonding the restoration to healthy adjoining teeth. Dental bridge procedures can typically be completed in fewer appointments and may serve as a beneficial option for patients who do not have enough jawbone density to support a dental implant.
Can dental implants work with a complete or partial denture?If the patient has a sufficient amount of jawbone density to support the required number of implant posts, they may be well-suited for complete or partial implant-supported dentures. The team at Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona will be able to examine your dental structures to determine if an implant denture hybrid, such as an All-On-4® implant-supported prosthesis, is a viable option.
If you would like more information about dental implants, or if you would like to schedule a consultation here at Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona, please contact us today.