All your questions answered: Dental implants FAQ
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are metal posts called implants that are surgically fixed into the jawbone underneath the gums. Once the implant is in place, the dentist places a restorative tooth or crown over the the implant using an abutment to keep it in place and allowing the restorative tooth to feel and look like a natural tooth. The dental implants cost is one that makes most people nervous about getting, and we’ll discuss more affordable options below as well.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants look and feel more natural than dentures. Because they fuse with your jawbone, they become permanent. Eventually, you won’t even notice them.
Dental implants replace your teeth as if they are your own, without requiring any sort of daily adjustments. You can chew, talk, and brush your teeth just as you would with a full mouth of natural teeth!
Since implants are just like natural teeth, they also provide the same comfort as natural teeth. Bridges and dentures on the other hand, aren’t completely fixed replacements and won’t provide the comfort of natural teeth.
Natural teeth aren’t affected
Dental implants do not affect your natural functioning teeth which helps to improve your oral health. Unlike implants, tooth-supported bridges require nearby natural teeth to be shaved down in order to the support the replacement tooth.
Unlike dentures and bridges that have a significantly lower life span, implants can last up to a lifetime with the right care and maintenance.
Are dental implants for me?
Dental implants may or may not be for you. Below are a few conditions that are indicators which may be qualifying you for implants. If you have –
- One or more missing teeth
- A severely damaged tooth that needs to be extracted
- High bone density (will be able to support an implant really well)
What about dental implant insurance? Does that cover the cost?
Yes and no. Dental insurance is not designed to cover high cost procedures; rather it’s designed for routine maintenance and a few restorative procedures such as cavity fillings and root canals. In the case of dental implants, insurance companies – most often than not – do not cover the cost, and if they do it is a very small portion of it. Insurance companies consider dental implants a cosmetic procedure, therefore they do offer coverage for alternative procedures such as dentures or partials; however, given the benefits of implants over dentures or partials, it’s clear what the right decision to make would be.
How much do dental implants cost?
Dental implants cost varies from clinic to clinic. Some dentists can significantly overcharge, some stay within the average overcharging rates, and some dentists stick to the true costs of implants while keeping minimal profit. Given that, the average dental implants cost is estimated around $4,000 per tooth. With Zentist partners that offer true costs, the average is around $2,000 or less per tooth.
Are there more affordable dental implants?
Of course. As mentioned above, dentures, partials, and bridges are all options that are typically much cheaper than dental implants. However, it again comes back to the pros and cons of each of the options, as well as which options are worth the cost in the long run. Furthermore, dental implants aren’t always very costly; as mentioned above, there are dentists who offer true costs which are typically half the price of the average costs. Check here to find affordable dental implants with leading dentists.
How long is the process?
The full dental implants process can take up to 6-8 months with three stages. Here’s the breakdown:
- Extraction/bone grafting (~ 3 months including healing time)
- Dental implant with abutment (~ 3 months including healing time)
- Crown (instant)
The procedures themselves don’t take long at all, but the healing time is what increases the length of the full process. The healing period however, is the most crucial component of the process because without the proper healing, the dental implant procedure will fail and can create further complications for your jawbone and teeth.
For those clinics that advertise one day implants, they are simply referring to the time it takes to insert the implant into the jawbone, which is technically one day (they aren’t referring to the healing time at all).
Are there dental implant specialists?
Yes! While most dentists that practice general dentistry also offer dental implants, there are dentists who solely specialize and offer dental implants while practicing little to no general dentistry. Do we recommend the latter dentists? Yes, but that is not to say that dentists that mainly practice general dentistry aren’t just as good and efficient when it comes to dental implants.
Are there any risks or side effects?
Risks are very rare, however just like with any surgical procedure, they are possible. Potential risks include infection where the implant is inserted, tooth or blood vessel damage, pain, nerve damage, tingling sensations, numbness, and sinus concerns.
There are a few side effects as well, but are very minor and quite normal. These include swelling of the gums and face, pain, and bleeding.
What’s the difference between implants, dentures, and bridges?
Given that dental implants are actually meshed in the jawbone and gums, they are as close to natural teeth as artificial teeth can get in terms of look, feel, strength, and life.
Dentures are removable artificial teeth that one can place in their mouth and take out when needed. They are similar to retainers after getting braces taken off, without being as secure. This causes them to easily slip in the mouth and become loose which can make talking and eating quite challenging.
Bridges are similar to dentures, except that they are placed over shaved teeth to fill in the gap of a tooth. The teeth that are directly next to a gap are shaved down to allow the bridges to fit over them, which results in weaker bones.
Will it hurt?
No, it won’t hurt. There will be minimal discomfort, but because dentists use anesthesia during the procedures, you won’t feel much pain. During the healing process between stages, there may be some pain, however, with the right care in addition to taking pain relievers if needed, that can be easily taken care of.
I’m ready to get implants. Now what?
Search for “dental care near me” to find a price that works within your budget; three price quotes from three different dentists, and no in-person consultation required!