Thinking About Getting Dental Implants? Here’s What You Need To Know
If you’ve lost a tooth or about to, you may be wondering what to do. Before, dental bridges and dentures were the only options for replacing missing teeth, but now you have many more options. One of those options is getting dental implants. The development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years.
A dental implant is an excellent long-term solution for broken or missing teeth. It is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the next few months. The implant acts as a replacement for the root of the missing tooth. It serves as an “artificial root” or “fake root” that holds the replacement tooth in place. In the case of someone missing all their teeth, implants can help make a denture stable, retentive, and ultimately much more comfortable for a patient to wear.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
The procedure of getting dental implants is a long one and may take several months. Dental implants are done in two basic phases:
1. Surgical Phase:
During the surgical phase, the dentist will place the implant fixture into the jawbone. Most dental implants are made of titanium because of the metal’s lightweight, durability, and chemical makeup. Titanium makes it easier for the implant to integrate with the bone without being recognized as a foreign object in the body. The metal also does not have a history of reacting with other chemicals.
After the fake root is placed, it will fuse with the jawbone. This process is called osseointegration. Osseointegration normally takes 12 weeks to complete. After the 12 week period is over, the dentist will verify through radiography (a type of X-ray) that the osseointegration process is complete.
2. Restorative Phase:
Once the implant is properly fused with the jawbone, it is ready to be restored with a dental crown. The dentist will take impressions to have the crown made by a dental laboratory. After the crown is ready, it will be placed over the dental implant.
Dental implants are one of the healthiest and most long-lasting solutions to missing teeth. With proper care, implants can last decades!
Am I A Candidate For Dental Implants?
If you are in good general health and have the patience for the process to be completed, you are a good candidate for getting dental implants. However, there are two situations where getting a dental implant may not be a good idea:
1. If you have diabetes: Diabetics sometimes have slow or compromised healing, leading to an implant not integrating with the bone.
2. If you are a smoker: Smoking harms healing which could lead to an implant failing. If you are a smoker, you should be willing to quit smoking for the duration of the treatment.
If you are interested in dental implants, the dentist can help determine if the treatment is right for you.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
One of the most common questions asked about this treatment is “How much do dental implants cost?” The answer to this question for each case is different, because the treatment cost will differ in each case. Here are some factors that determine the cost of the treatment:
1. The number of teeth requiring implants:
The more teeth that need replacing, the higher the cost is going to be. With each tooth that needs to be fixed, the cost goes up as the amount of materials and time needed for the implant increases. Planning the treatment also takes more time, attention, and skill.
2. Quality of the bone:
Patients who have bone loss might need to undergo a grafting procedure to improve the tissue quality at the implant site. While this type of procedure is billed separately from the implant surgery, it needs to be accounted for while considering the total price.
3. Need For Extraction:
If you have damaged teeth that need to be extracted before the procedure, the extractions can add to the overall cost.
4. Periodontal Disease:
If you suffer from gum disease, you will need treatment before getting dental implants. This will likely increase the overall cost.
5. Quality Of Implants:
Higher-end implants may cost more, but they reduce the chances of complications. The cost of the dental crown must also be considered. A customized crown that feels like a natural tooth will have a higher cost.
6. Skill Of The Dentist:
Getting dental implants is a surgical procedure and needs to be planned. Some dentists have years of training and experience in placing implants. As such, the cost of the surgery may be high, but completely worth it as the skill of the dentist reduces the risk of complications.
Due to these factors, the estimate of cost of the treatment will vary. Dental implants are not covered by most dental insurance plans, However, depending on the cause of the tooth loss, the coverage under your insurance plan may be possible. The dentist will discuss the cost and the payment plan with you, as it depends on the case.