You or someone you know may be considering getting dental implants. It’s a good solution if you’re looking to restore your smile and are running out of options. It’s also a big decision and not one to take lightly or to make quickly.
Not only is surgery required but there is also a notable cost involved. The following comprehensive guide will go over what are implants and how much do they cost. It’ll also touch on some reasons you may want to get one and what the process of having implants involves. You’ll soon be able to more easily determine if a dental implant is a right solution for you.
What Are Dental Implants?
The first question to address is what is a dental implant? You may have heard the term but aren’t too familiar with what they are exactly. A dental implant is an artificial root made of titanium that is inserted into the jawbone through a surgical procedure. They function similar to a natural tooth root in that teeth implants are used to hold a prosthetic tooth in place.
Some people assume that the artificial tooth is the implant. However, it’s important to note that the term “implant” is not the entire replacement tooth but only the part that actually gets inserted into the bone. There are many different components that we’ll go over later on. The artificial tooth of an implant looks, feels, and functions just like that of natural teeth. Generally speaking, there’s a lot of work that goes into the process of planning for, creating, and placing dental implants.
You may also be curious to know if dental implants hurt. The short answer is no, but you might experience some discomfort afterward and as you heal. Your mouth might also be sore right where the implant is placed initially but you won’t feel anything once the implant is fully healed.
Reasons You May Need Implants
There are a few different reasons why you may need an implant. Most common case is if you have lost one or more of your teeth due to dental conditions such as cavity, root infection, gum disease, bone loss, or fracture. There are also medical conditions that can result in a missing tooth or missing teeth. While at the same time, others will choose to have an implant for cosmetic reasons.
Am I a Good Candidate?
You may be wondering who can have dental implants and if you’re eligible. To be considered a good candidate for one, you must have healthy gums and a healthy jawbone. The new root needs to be properly supported. You may not be a good candidate for dental implants if you have bone loss or uncontrolled gum infection. Medical conditions are also considered to make sure that your body can heal properly after implant placement. It’s always best to have an evaluation done by your dentist and to get their opinion.
Different Options In Restoration
When deciding to restore missing teeth, you might also be considering dentures or dental bridges. However, there are differences to take into account when it comes to dentures versus dental bridges versus implants.
Implants are the most natural in appearance and comfortable option. Implants do not damage the surrounding teeth to the missing tooth and have a high long-term success rate. Implants can also be a flexible option whether you need a single implant, or implant bridge, or implant supported denture without the risk of cavities. However, it usually has a higher up-front cost.
A bridge is affixed to the two adjacent natural teeth of a missing tooth and will fill the gap with a floating tooth. While bridge is also a good option to restore a missing tooth and may have more insurance coverage, flossing is not possible and more food debris will be stuck around it due to all teeth in bridge being connected to each other. This difficulty in cleaning can lead to higher risk of cavities of the natural anchoring teeth and need for replacement in the future. Also, the anchoring teeth need significant reduction in their shape and may need additional root canal therapy.
Dentures are most cost effective when many teeth are missing but they are the most unnatural-looking and uncomfortable to use when chewing and speaking.
Implants are usually the best option when replacing missing teeth. However, there are other limitations to each option. Ask your dental provider which option will be the best for you.
Why Implants Are A Good Option
When considering if you should get dental implants, you may also want to know why they might be a good option for you. For starters, they are natural-looking and have a comfortable fit. Dental implants are long-lasting and reliable, there’s a high success rate with them, and you’ll have an improved ability to eat and chew as well. Overall, they provide long-term value and are a great investment for achieving long-lasting oral health. Additionally, implants may be a good choice because they can help stabilize the jaw, prevent greater bone loss, and maintain the natural shape of the jawline.
The Implant Process
Before you commit to a dental implant, it’s important to know what the dental implant procedure is and the process of the surgery. There are several stages that will be carried out from start to finish. Below is a summary of what you can expect to occur.
Prior to the operation, there is a preparation stage that must take place. It includes a meticulous examination and x-rays of your jaw. A computed tomography (CT) scan is most telling of how your jawbone and oral structure look. Any problems that are identified will be addressed and taken care of before the surgery.
Placing the Implant
The placing of the implant will come next. This involves making an incision into the gum to expose the bone, drilling a hole where the tooth implant will be placed in the jaw, and then screwing the implant itself into place. Then, the gum will be stitched or secured over the implant to protect it from any possible debris. The complete healing process can take three to six months where the implant fuses with the bone. Your dentist might provide you with a partial denture, bridge, or retainer with a temporary crown in the meantime.
Installing the Healing Abutment
Next, the healing abutment is installed. This may happen immediately after implant placement or after several months. A healing abutment is an extension that protrudes from the gums to guide the gum tissue around the implant to heal in an ideal shape for the prosthetic tooth. Within two weeks of healing abutment, the gum tissue should likely be fully healed. The surgery portion will then be over and the crowns will be made.
Fitting the Crown
The process of making your crown at your dentist’s office will begin once your mouth is completely recovered. The dentist will take new dental impressions and then properly shape the replacement tooth to fit your existing tooth and gum structure. A custom or prefabricated abutment is used to replace the healing abutment and connects the new crown to the implant.The color of your surrounding teeth will be taken into account so that the crown matches and blends in. Most people desire the look of a natural-colored tooth.
An important part of the dental implant process is the recovery phase and there will be multiple recovery milestones. Your body will need to take time to heal after each stage along the way. You may even experience some discomfort which is common. It may or may not include the following:
- Bruised gums and skin
- Swollen gums or face
- Some bleeding
- Pain near and around the implant area
Always contact your dentist if these symptoms get worse and you’re in a lot of discomfort. It’s likely you’ll get stitches that will dissolve as the wound heals. Otherwise, it’ll require that you go in for another appointment to have them removed. As soon as everything is in place, done, and healed you should be able to chew and eat normally. Implant teeth are known to be just as strong as natural teeth in most cases. Stick to your normal routine of brushing, flossing, and taking good care of your teeth and implant.
Average Cost in the US
It’s a well-known fact that dental implants aren’t cheap. Therefore, you may want to know more about how much dental implants cost and what you can expect to pay in the US. For a single tooth, the average cost is $3,000 to $4,500. There are many variables such as dental insurance coverage that can lead to a lower cost or a more complex dental situation requiring additional procedures and additional cost. If you’re looking at getting full mouth implants then you should be aware that the costs start at $40,000.
Overall, most Americans find it to be an expensive treatment and aren’t able to pay for the procedure out of pocket. The price is going to vary some based on the materials used, the type of implant, and the complexity of the case. You’ll also need to factor in if you’re replacing a front tooth or a back tooth, as the front teeth usually will cost you more and back teeth in the upper jaw may need additional surgery such as sinus lift.
In the case that you require multiple single implants then the cost might decrease slightly since you only have to pay once for scans and x-rays. These are just starting prices but you also need to consider the cost of necessary extractions and other preparatory work, as well as if you choose more expensive materials. Titanium implants are by far the most commonly used material and many dental surgeons consider them to be the best material for dental implants.
If you can’t afford to pay for the treatment in full up-front then be glad to know you have options. There may be financing options such as dental loans, credit cards, and payment plans to consider and you should always plan to shop around. It might be worth the effort and time to travel elsewhere if it’s cheaper in a different city or location.
There are four main ways you can finance your dental implants:
- Dental insurance
- Dental loans
- Dental tourism
- Dental discount plans
You might also be asking yourself if Medicare covers dental implants. Medicaid or Medicare won’t typically cover expensive dental procedures. However, some Medicare Advantage Plans might cover dental implants. You may be able to save as much as 50% on your dental implant cost if you have a dental insurance plan that provides coverage for this surgery. Always do your homework and research the potential costs and compare prices until you find a solution that falls within your budget.
Advantages of Implants
There are several advantages to getting implants that you may want to review before making a final decision. For example, you might want to get tooth implants if you need a permanent and long-lasting solution due to tooth loss. Below are additional benefits of getting dental implants:
- Allow for normal eating and chewing
- No issues with your speech
- Are stable and durable
- Have the look and feel of natural teeth
- No special cleaning or adhesives required
- Won’t impact adjacent healthy teeth
- The success rate is high at 90-95%
Keep in mind that it is an invasive surgery and will take time from start to finish. You might experience pain and swelling along the way and as you heal. It’s important to maintain good oral health and hygiene so you can avoid any complications. It’s possible you may need to replace your dental implants after about a decade. While you may also be hesitant because of the cost, remember that they often prove to be less expensive than the alternatives which are dentures or bridges. Dental implants are durable and comfortable and are less likely to get damaged.
You now have a better idea of what implants are and how much they cost on average. It’s not a choice you should take lightly and you should make sure you’re completely comfortable with the procedure and what’s involved before committing and moving forward. Always do your own research to continue to get answers to questions you may still have and to learn more about the cost in different areas.
It’s important to get quotes in advance so that you feel comfortable paying the final bill. You’ll need to determine if it’s an investment you want to make and is worth making in your life and for your oral health. It’s a safe and effective solution if you are considered eligible and a prime candidate for them. The implant procedure is a bit complex, but with the right dentist and surgeon on your side, you’ll be in good hands and have nothing to worry about.
The only questions left to ask are, are dental implants right for you, and are you ready to get the process started?