Dental implants background image at Southern Arizona Periodontics.

Dental Implants

Tucson, AZ

Dental implant diagram from Southern Arizona Periodontics.

What Are Dental Implants?

Teeth can be lost for a variety of reasons such as decay, trauma, or periodontal disease. Dental implants are a simple solution for replacing a lost or missing tooth, or even many teeth. Research has shown from well documented studies the long term results and benefits of dental implants. If provided by an experienced periodontist, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Losing teeth can really influence your life in a negative way. It can become harder to eat the foods you once enjoyed, your speech may start to be affected, you might even lose more teeth as a result of losing one or two. Dentures can be a hassle to take care of and a cause of discomfort. Fortunately, dental implants are able to replace your natural teeth in a comfortable, healthy, and permanent way. Dental implants mimic the root and crown of your natural teeth to such an impressive degree that you won’t even notice the difference!

Modern dental implants are easily the most impressive advancement in dental history. Being able to fully replace a tooth in both form and function is no small feat. The fact that it’s a permanent replacement that is capable of preventing bone loss in your jaw makes it even more impressive. As a result, the demand for dental implants has skyrocketed and the production methods have become more effective, resulting in a higher quality, lower cost product.

Contact us today to schedule your dental implants consultation!

Call today to schedule your
Dental Implant consultation: 520-200-2272

Dr. Cole and Dr. Sharp have been providing dental implants in Southern Arizona for over 30 years, having performed over 10,000 implant procedures! Both of our specialists have attended many years’ worth of training and education that is focused around the placement and long term success of implants.

Dental Implant Procedures

Implants are carefully placed into your jaw bone through a surgical procedure. This procedure can be performed in our office with the use of local anesthesia and oral, general, or IV sedation. In the vast majority of cases patients who have undergone the dental implant procedure can return to work the day after the procedure. Cases where patients ten to miss more work are ones in which the patient has multiple implants place in one day.

Once placed the implants will require several months to heal, during which time the bone in your jaw will grow around them in a process known as osseointegration. Once the bone has grown to a point that it can properly support the implants in the act of chewing it will be time to place the rest of the prosthesis on them. It can take anywhere from four to nine months to place the final prosthesis on the implant posts but there are situations where we will place them the same day. There are usually at few visits to our office in between placement of the post and the prosthesis in order to ensure that everything is healing properly.

Do Implants Work?

Dental implants are proven to be the most effective tooth replacement option available today. Implants are so good at replacing natural teeth that they even are able to stimulate the jaw bone in order to prevent bone loss in the areas they are placed – the same way natural teeth stimulate the bone; this is something that no other tooth replacement option offers.

Implants are one of the most reliable and predictable long-term tooth replacement methods in history. We are able to place implants with a very high degree of certainty of their success. Because implants are fabricated, they offer some advantages over natural teeth. Implants cannot decay, and are typically much stronger and more durable than a natural tooth. This does not mean that you can skip brushing and flossing, it just means that your implants are very reliable.

Am I A Candidate for Dental Implants? – The Implant Evaluation

If dental implants are something that you think could help improve the quality of your life, please give us a call at 520-200-2272 and schedule a no obligation consultation so that we can determine whether dental implant are right for you. Implant evaluations are important for us and for the patients. When we have a chance to sit down with you, evaluate your mouth, and describe to you what challenges we face in your treatment, you will be able to make a well-informed decision about your oral health.

Your implant evaluation will take roughly an hour to complete. During the evaluation we will take a 3D scan of your mouth using a cone beam CT scanner. This will allow us to create a 3D image of your mouth that we will use to create a detailed treatment plan for you. During the evaluation we will discuss:

  • Treatment recommendations
  • Options for prosthetics
  • Approximate number of visits required
  • Fees
  • Time requirements

Immediate Restoration Implants

Sometimes we are able to place implants and provide temporary prosthetic teeth at the same time. This is not a simple or necessarily common occurrence but it does happen occasionally. Make sure to inquire with us if this is something that interests you and we will see if you are a good candidate for this procedure.

What Happens If I Don’t Have Enough Bone?

Implant Site Preparation
During the evaluation, we will determine whether or not you have enough bone mass in your jaw to support dental implants. If you do not there are plenty of ways that we can bolster your bone mass before beginning the implant procedure in order to give you enough bone to support your implants. In the event that we need to add bone mass to your mouth we refer to the process of doing so as implant site preparation. Here are some of the different kinds of implant site preparation procedures.

Extraction Site Preparation
One of the more common forms of implant site prep, extraction site preparation happens while we are extracting teeth that are (typically) in the way of the prosthesis that we will eventually place. Site recovery can require up to six months to heal and allow for the bone to harden adequately.

Ridge Augmentation
The ridge of your jaw is where the teeth sit. In the event that a patient has gone without teeth for some time, the ridge can suffer bone loss. Using ridge augmentation we build the ridge to prepare the jaw bone to receive an implant.

Sinus Augmentation
The maxillary sinuses are located above your upper molars. The sinus cavities are the passages through which air travels from your nostrils to the back of your throat. They are short, winding passages that are lined with a thin membrane. It is important for us to take the sinus cavity into consideration when placing implants in the posterior roof of your mouth.

It sometimes becomes necessary to lift the sinus cavity out of the way of the implant, in order to avoid damaging any part of your sinus cavity and to ensure that the implant will have adequate support.

Vertical Sinus Augmentation
When there is some bone remaining between the sinus and the planned implant site we can sometimes push it up toward the sinus and fill the void left behind using a vertical sinus augmentation. After the bone has been altered we can place a graft in the site where the bone was moved from. Implants are typically placed between 4 and 6 months after this procedure is finished.

Lateral Sinus Augmentation
When there is very little bone left between the procedure sit and the sinus cavity/lining lateral sinus augmentation allows for the most amount of bone regeneration possible. We create a window to the side of the jawbone and expose the sinus membrane with it. The membrane is carefully lifted using this window in order to provide room for the bone grafting material that we will then place below it. Implant placement can sometimes follow immediately but often require 4-6 months to be placed following this procedure.

What Is Involved in Getting Dental Implants?

There are four phases to implant treatment. They are:

  1. Implant placement
  2. Implant uncovering
  3. Prosthetic phase (providing replacement teeth)
  4. Maintenance phase