Dental Implants: Cost, Procedure & Options
Deciding on the most effective and efficient option for tooth replacement, as well as how much dental implants cost, is an important process that requires the consideration of a few factors. Many who are missing one or more teeth due to periodontal disease and other oral problems are increasingly opting for dental implants, as they are safe, secure and offer a high success rate.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants generally consist of metal screws, or posts, which are fixed to the jawbone to support prosthetic teeth, such as crowns or bridges. After a screw is implanted, a small metal stump, known as an abutment, is secured atop the implant to support a false tooth.
Who Is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Anyone missing teeth and seeking the comfort and confidence of a new smile can opt for dental implants, however, there are a few factors that make some people better candidates for the surgery than others. Excellent candidates have healthy gums and enough bone in their jaws to support implants. It is also important to consider that once the surgery has been completed, extensive dental care and excellent oral hygiene practices must be executed. Expect to undergo indefinite routine dentist visits and care meticulously for your replacement teeth in your future.
What are Some Benefits of Dental Implants?
Aside from restoring confidence and returning aesthetic quality to the mouth, dental implants are known to provide a number of health benefits that surpass those gained through traditional tooth replacement choices, such as dentures:
•Restoration of proper chewing functions so that foods that were once unmanageable can be enjoyed on a regular basis.
•No need for messy adhesives, as are required with dentures.
•No pressure is placed on surrounding teeth, equating in minimal to no pain and irritation.
•Does not affect speech, and in many cases, improves it.
•Teeth will not loosen since implants are fixed into the jaw permanently. There is no risk of the embarrassment that can occur with dentures due to their instability.
•Surrounding teeth do not need to be cut down or filed in order to position and secure implants.
•Implants contribute to the cessation of progressive bone loss and jawbone shrinkage.
•Dental implants provide a 90 to 95 percent success rate and promote long-term oral health.
Steps of a Typical Implant Procedure
Everyone’s condition is different, therefore, an initial consultation with a dentist is required in order to assess each case and recommend the best type of surgery for each individual. Typically, the implant procedure involves a series of routine steps, including preparations and one or more surgeries:
1) A radio-graph or CT scan of the mouth is taken in order to obtain information about the location of teeth in relation to jaw structure and shape. This information is required so that the proper placement of tooth implants can be planned and conducted with utmost care, as it is a delicate process.
2) During surgery, an incision is made to the gums to expose the jaw bone. Specialized equipment (usually a precision drill) is utilized to drill a pilot hole directly into the jawbone for placement of the implant. The post is secured and the patient is sent home to heal.
3) Osseo integration, which is the fusion of surrounding bone to the implant, is given time to occur. Successful Osseo integration must take place to label the surgery a success and move surgery along to its next phase. On average, doctors allow three to six months for proper healing of the jaw bone to take place before continuing the implant process.
4) A second surgery is conducted to secure prosthetic teeth to the implant posts. Crowns, bridges or entire rows of prosthetic teeth are secured to the exposed posts. A small metal piece called an abutment is attached atop the post, which supports a false tooth.
5) In rare instances, a same-day implant/fixed prosthesis surgery can be accomplished. This procedure is most commonly recommended for those that must undergo tooth extraction.
Types of Implant Procedures
There are three basic types of implant surgeries, each suited to a different type of jaw structure. A sizable supply of options make implants a realistic choice for a wider range of patients than was deemed possible in the past. Speak with your doctor to determine what option is best for you and to assess how much your dental implants cost.
The most common type of tooth implant is the endosteal implant. It is achieved by anchoring a small post directly into the jawbone and allowing that post to fuse with the bone prior to securing a metal piece that will support a prosthetic tooth. Two common endosteal implants have the greatest success rates:
1) Root Form Implant:
The root form implant is the best option for those with strong jawbones providing plenty of width and depth to support implants. Root form implants are small screw-like rods that closely mimic the shape and form of a tooth’s natural root.
2) Plate Form Implant:
Sometimes the jawbone of a particular patient is too narrow to attach implants safely and securely. The plate form implant ensures a proper fit without posing any risks during healing. The long, flat posts are designed specifically with narrow jaw bones in mind and may prevent the need for additional complicated surgical procedures, such as bone grafting.
Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal frame that is placed just below the gum tissue and rests on top of the jawbone. Gums are incised to insert the metal frame and then stitched back together to allow for healing. As the gums heal, the metal frame becomes permanently fixated to the jawbone. After the healing process is complete, posts are attached to the metal frame and prosthetic teeth may be mounted.
In the instance that your jawbone is too narrow, too short, or too weak to support implants, a bone graft may be in order. In some cases, bone loss occurs over time thanks to missing teeth and other oral complications, creating bone deformation or shrinkage. This phenomenon is known as resorption, and it has proved discouraging in the past for oral patients wishing to receive dental implants. Thanks to scientific research and the advancement of oral materials and dental procedures, however, the re-building of the jaw bone is now extremely feasible. If you must receive a bone graft, you have a few different grafting options to consider:
This bone grafting procedure is completed with the use of your own bone material. Bone is collected from a “donor site” on your body. For the purposes of jaw re-structuring, bone is generally collected from the mouth or hip since these areas have shown the best regeneration success rates.
This is a type of imitation bone, which consists of synthetic materials usually obtained from a calcium-phosphate source.
This procedure utilizes the bones of animals, which are thoroughly sterilized and processed to ensure the best chances of being accepted and integrated by living human bones.
Bone is collected from human donors that sign releases allowing their bones to be utilized for medical purposes upon death. Since obvious health risks are involved with this process, all bones collected from donors are carefully analyzed and sterilized to ensure patient safety and successful regeneration.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The exact cost of a dental implant procedure is always going to fluctuate, as each case is unique and determined by various factors. On average, dental implants cost more than traditional cosmetic surgeries and tooth repair procedures, mainly because of the higher quality level of the results that are achieved. It is also to be noted that most insurance policies are hesitant to aid with cosmetic procedures and will often cover less than ten percent of incurred fees.
The greatest factor determining how much dental implants cost is the quality and experience level of your dentist. You’ll need to shop around and pay attention to reviews of several dentists, as well as keep an eye out for any certifications or skills that set one dentist apart from another. Obtaining the cheapest procedure is not always your best bet, as your smile is an asset worth protecting and will likely require a hefty financial investment no matter how you crunch the numbers. Think of it this way: Would you pay less for a car that is going to break down on you in a year? Look at your teeth the same way while determining how much cash you’re willing to slap down for dental implants.
Dental implants cost more or less depending on the brand you select because of patents placed on materials. Regardless of cost, you’ll want to select a brand that is American Dental Association approved. Some approved dental implant systems include: Straumann, Nobel Biocare, AstraTech, BioHorizons, Intra-Lock System, Biomet 3i, Zimmer and Bicon. Costs between these brands vary insignificantly.
Bear in mind that every dentist calculates how much dental implants cost differently. Some dentists assess separate fees for each stage of the procedure or for separate implant parts, while others assign one lump fee for all materials and surgical stages. Following are average price ranges for the most common procedures.
In the event that you have one or two teeth needing replacement, you’ll benefit from a single tooth replacement. This is the cheapest procedure as far as tooth implant cost is concerned. For post, abutment and prosthetic tooth placement, expect to spend between roughly 2,000 and 4,000 dollars.
Multiple teeth are often replaced with bridges, which are rows of three to four prosthetic teeth that are secured to implant posts. The replacement of multiple teeth can cost anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 dollars, including all stages of the procedure.
A fixed implant that supports a full row of prosthetic teeth is the most expensive option. These dental implants cost anywhere from 11,000 to 18,000 dollars. This means you’re basically looking at a 40,000 dollar procedure if you need to replace a full set of teeth, including all steps of surgery and materials.
What’s atop your implant posts may not be the most important aspect of dental implant surgery, but it certainly deserves the most consideration where aesthetics are concerned. The prosthetic teeth you select are going to remain with you for a long time, if not indefinitely. Therefore, it is crucial that you consider all options to select the most durable and visually pleasing artificial teeth possible. If price is a concern, you have a few options to choose from.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
Veneers are an ultra-thin ceramic or resin coat that rests atop the teeth. For dental implant purposes, the materials provided for veneers may be applied to a metal base in order to form a prosthetic tooth. Porcelain veneers closely resemble the look and texture of natural teeth and are therefore a popular choice amongst patients. Porcelain is a non-porous material, lending to its durability. Porcelain veneers cost anywhere from 700 to 2500 dollars per tooth, depending on the brand, dentist policies, and location of the procedure (state tax laws vary).
Resin veneers are generally cheaper than their porcelain cousins, falling in the 250 to 1500 dollar range per tooth. Just remember, cheaper is not always better. You won’t break the bank with resin veneers, but porcelain is undoubtedly of higher, more substantial quality.
How Much Do Crowns Cost?
Crowns are porcelain fused to metal, although some prosthetic crowns may be all-porcelain or all-resin. These “solid” dental implants cost between 600 and 2,000 dollars per crown. Therefore, it can be approximated that a full set of crowns will cost anywhere between 17,000 and 56,000 dollars. Once you assess your dental requirements, you can find a middle ground between your price range and the results you wish to achieve.