Flagstaff Downtown Dental – Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.
The implants are tiny titanium posts which are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.
Dental implants are changing the way people live! With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life.
Evaluation for Dental Implants
If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. During these consultation visits, your specific needs and considerations will be addressed by either Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell, or by a periodontist who specializes in placing implants. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. There are now available tooth colored zirconium implant posts that allow for optimum esthetics for anterior teeth.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear a temporary tooth replacement much like an orthodontic retainer. At the same time, Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell designs the final bridge work or crown, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone (about 3 months after initial placement), the second phase begins. The surgeon will uncover the implants and attach a small post. Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell can then start making your new teeth. An impression must be taken. Then temporary crowns can be connected to the implants. The replacement teeth are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.
Zirconium Posts-The small post that attaches to the titanium screw that has fused to your bone may now be made with a tooth colored post. Before the advent of the zirconium post, patients often had a “grey” tint where the new tooth emerged from the gum line. With this new technology, there is no grey tint as the emerging new crown is attached to a tooth colored post allowing for a more cosmetic result. Zirconium is very strong. Dr. Bacon took after one (in his lab) with a hammer and could not break it!
Common Questions and Answers
Q. Is this a painful process?
A. Generally not at all. Most patients receive an implant painlessly with only local anesthetic. Many need only a pain medication of Advil’s strength to be comfortable that day and continue with normal daily activities.
Q. How long will it be between the time I have a tooth pulled from the time I can have my new tooth?
A. Usually 7-8 months.
Q. What if I have been missing this tooth always or if I have been missing it for a long time?
A. Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell will do a clinical examination of the area to determine the success of an implant. Sometimes inadequate bone may make it difficult to place an implant. If this is the case it is often possible to add bone to the area and then place the implant. If there is adequate bone we can place an implant right away and you can enjoy a new tooth just 3 months later.
Q. What about placing implants at the time of extracting my teeth?
This can sometimes be done depending on the situation.
Q. What is the success rate of implants?
The implant success rate depends greatly on the talent and expertise of the dentist placing your implants. Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell refers you to the best implant specialists that he knows. His success rate is over 95%! Emphasis of using an expert with a lot of experience can’t be stressed enough here. Dr. Bacon and Dr. Stowell implant crowns they place are of the highest quality available anywhere.
Q. What do I do in the meantime? Will there ever be a time I have no tooth?
A. If it is a lower molar that no one can see we often leave the space as it is. If there is a cosmetic issue, Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell will make a temporary replacement ahead of time so you never go without a tooth!
Q. Can’t I just get an implant and a new crown the same day like I see on the T.V.?
A. You can but the likelihood of success is much less. Letting the implant heal for 3 months before it is “loaded” (used for chewing) has a success rate of 95%. Immediate implants may only have a success rate of 50-75%, depending on technique. Keep in mind that placement of an implant is relatively simple but removal of a failed implant is not always a simple surgery.
Q. What is the cost of an implant?
A. There are several factors that contribute to the cost of an implant. The most crucial is if the is sufficient bone to support an implant. A general ball park cost of an implant and crown in Flagstaff with Dr. Bacon or Dr. Stowell is $5000-$6000. We can pre-authorize what insurance will cover for an implant as each company pays differently.