“The first thing people notice about you is your smile.”
What are dental implants?
Tooth loss is an oral health problem that affects over 120 million Americans. This can be caused by periodontal disease, tooth decay, or injury. In the past, the standard treatment options offered to people suffering from tooth loss were dentures or bridges, depending on the severity of the tooth loss. Unfortunately, these options are still used today, and while they offer viable solutions, they are not without issue.
Today dental implants provide one of the best treatment options for missing teeth.
A dental implant is a device that is used to replace missing teeth. The implant is most often made from titanium, a biocompatible material, and has a shape that remembers a screw.
Implants are inserted into the jawbone by a surgeon, where it will act as an artificial tooth root.
The implant restoration typically has three parts:
The implant fixture, which is the part that is inserted into the jaw in the area where there are missing teeth, acts as the tooth’s root or the anchor.
This is usually a titanium piece that is biocompatible, and over time will integrate into the patient’s bone. This is a process known as osseointegration.
The second part of the implant restorative process is called an abutment.
Abutments are often custom-made to the patient’s specific situation. They are made with precision machinery specific to the type of implant fixture placed in the jaw. These will usually be made from titanium but can be made from other materials.
The final part of the implant process is the crown that is placed over the abutment.
The crown is also fabricated with precision machinery to be placed over the abutment for a precise fit.
Crowns can be made from a few different materials but are made to look natural within the patient’s mouth.
Each part of the dental implant is made to replace missing teeth from the root to the final crown.
Why would I need dental implants?
There are several options to choose from for restoring missing teeth. In the past, the standard of care consisted of creating a bridge or a removable appliance like a partial or denture. While these are excellent choices when addressing esthetics or functional issues such as chewing, they have some drawbacks. Dental implants offer benefits that these other options do not provide.
One of the key reasons dental implants are the number one treatment of choice is their ability to function like a natural tooth from the root to the crown.
However, when tooth loss occurs, a loss of bone density also occurs. This is because teeth make contact with each other all day through actions such as chewing, and with this contact, the periodontal ligaments are stimulated, helping to create new bone. Without the stimulation, bone tissue will deteriorate. This process is known as bone resorption.
Potential issues surrounding bone loss
- Weakened Jaw
- Shrunken facial profile
- Wrinkled skin around the mouth area
- Issues with speech
- Surrounding teeth begin to be affected as they start to drift, misalign, loosen and even fall out.
- Pain in the face and jaw
- Diminished ability to chew leading to compromised nutrition
Since dental implants act as a tooth replacement by creating a restorative solution from the root to the crown, they essentially replace the missing tooth.
The titanium implant fixture is embedded into the bone and begins to integrate with the bone.
The completed implant crown then begins to transfer the chewing information to the bone, now stimulation and bone growth can begin.
Other options for tooth replacement, such as bridges or dentures, do not provide the necessary stimulation required to maintain healthy bone density.
Types of Dental Implants
While implants come in various materials, designs, and sizes, four general types of dental implants are available. These four types of implants are endosteal, subperiosteal, zygomatic, and All On 4 dental implants.
The implant type to use is decided based on the specific treatment plan arrived from the patient’s dental evaluation.
The most widely used type of implant placed is the endosteal implant. These implants are suitable in either the upper or lower jaw.
An endosteal implant is placed when adequate healthy bone is available. If sufficient bone is not available, a bone graft procedure must be performed before implant placement.
There are two types of endosteal implants:
– The screw or threaded cylinder implant
– The bladed implant
The surgeon placing the implant will determine which design is best for a specific case. Once the type is selected, the implant is then inserted into the jaw and given a couple of months to heal before the abutment and crown are placed.
Endosteal implants offer stability and result in a natural feeling tooth replacement.
Subperiosteal implants are used when adequate bone depth isn’t available and bone grafting is not an option.
This method uses a frame with metal posts that are not embedded into the jawbone but rather sit on top of the bone just below the gums. Because it is not embedded into the bone but sits on top of it, the amount of bone available is not a factor.
Bone grafting has created a solution for those who do not have adequate bone to support an implant making the use of subperiosteal implants rare when compared to the endosteal implant.
The zygomatic implant is categorized as an endosteal implant but where it differs is the placement of the implant. These implants are placed in the patient’s cheekbone or zygomatic bone rather than jawbone.
These are an option when adequate jawbone is not available.
This implant procedure is faster to perform and does not require much healing time.
Once the implant surgery is complete, the final crown can be immediately placed.
All On 4 Dental Implants
All On 4 is a more recent advancement in the area of implant dentistry. Using a bridge prosthesis, All On 4 dental implants can replace all 32 teeth using just four implants. If you need all of your teeth replaced, this technique is ideal compared to replacing each tooth with an individual implant.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Dental implants offer a superior solution when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Therefore, implants mimic natural teeth and can bring a person’s mouth back to normal function and support bone health.
When seeking treatment for missing teeth, it is essential to note that no two-implant cases are alike. Each person has a unique situation, and because of this, dental implants can have a wide range of pricing options.
Some of the factors that help determine the final price of a specific case include:
- A comprehensive exam that may include computed tomography (CT scan). This will provide a 3D image that can help determine bone viability.
- Determining whether any teeth will need to be extracted.
- Evaluate where any bone grafting is necessary or sinus lifting.
- Dental surgery to place the implant in the appropriate place within the jaw.
- The creation of an abutment that is custom to the implant system used.
- Fabrication of the final crown to fit the abutment
- Insertion of the crown over the abutment.
A quick google search revealed the range of pricing to be from $800 to $90,000. The range is wide because no two cases are the same. Therefore, the most important way to determine the cost of implant therapies is to invest in a comprehensive exam and find out the specifics of your unique situation.
Most dentists will ascertain the information for each unique situation and provide the costs upfront. While some dentists provide the entire procedure from surgery to final crown, some will refer out to specialists. It is essential to understand all of the costs. Also, most dentists offer some payment plans to make treatment more attainable.
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
Dental Implants are one of the best options for replacing missing teeth. An implant is the only tooth replacement option that replaces the missing tooth from the crown to the root. They look and function just like a natural tooth.
In addition, a dental implant is the only option that preserves and promotes bone health. Dental implants are also one of the most successful, long-lasting dental procedures available.
The part of the implant that is surgically placed into the jaw can last a lifetime. This is because dental implants are made from biocompatible materials to the jaw. This helps implants to integrate with the bone and create a permanent hold.
Studies have shown that dental implants have between a 95%-98% success rate. The success rate can vary based on where the implant is placed. The crown placed on top of an implant may need to be replaced more frequently. Dental crowns can often last anywhere from 10-20 years.
Are You A Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
One of the key factors ensuring the success of a dental implant is the thorough examination the dentist performs before implant placement surgery. In addition, the dentist will assess your oral health and overall health to ensure you are suitable for a dental implant.
The specific considerations are as follows:
The dentist will conduct a thorough examination complete with x-rays to determine bone health and a medical health analysis to determine whether or not dental implants will be a safe and successful option for you. Therefore, it is crucial that you share your medical history in detail with your dentist.
Success Rate of Dental Implants
The option to get a dental implant is a relatively routine procedure. However, the thorough evaluation that the dentist does help to ensure the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. This is the reason dental implants have such a high success rate.
To improve the success of your dental implants following are my recommendations:
The effort placed in practicing good oral hygiene and following the dentist’s directions is the most crucial factor in the longevity of dental implants.
We take all PPO dental insurance. No insurance? We’ve got you covered. Inquire about individual coverage options such as Aflac or financing options such Alphaeon® Credit and CareCredit® and even if you can’t afford to pay in full, we are willing to arrange an in-house payment plan.