If you want to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile, dental implants might be just what you’re looking for. Read on to learn what they are, who they’re for, how they work, and what you can expect from a cost perspective.
What are they?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots. Their shape is similar to the shape of a screw. They’re placed in your jawbone, bond with your jaw, and become a sturdy foundation for supporting one or more artificial teeth (also known as crowns). Implants aren’t the crowns themselves. These are solely the roots that are surgically implanted in your jaw.
Who are they for?
Individuals who might want to consider dental implants include some of the following conditions:
- Have missing teeth
- Have a jawbone that’s reached full growth
- Have healthy oral tissue
- Are unwilling to or can’t wear dentures
- Don’t smoke tobacco
- Are willing to wait several months for the process to be complete
How does the process work?
The dental implant process doesn’t happen overnight. There are several steps that take place.
- Initial Consultation. You’ll need to meet with your dentist to get X-rays or 3D images and come up with a surgery plan.
- Dental Implant Placement. At your next scheduled appointment, your implant dentist will place your implants where your teeth are missing. Each person’s experience is different, and while there is some pain and discomfort after the surgery, most find themselves going back to work or returning to regular activities the next day.
- Osseointegration. This is the process of your implant and jawbone growing together over time, forming a long-lasting, strong foundation for your replacement teeth. This process typically takes a few months. During this time, you can go on with your normal life, with the exception of being on a soft food diet during the first few weeks of healing.
- Abutment Placement. Once your implants bond with your jaw, an abutment (small connector) is placed just above the gumline if it wasn’t already placed there during surgery.
- Attach Custom-Made Teeth. When your gums are completely healed, your dentist will make an impression of your mouth and remaining teeth to make your custom teeth. These teeth will be attached to the abutment. Although these won’t decay, they still require the same routine care as your natural teeth.
- Periodic Check Ups. After your initial dental implant process is finished, you’ll visit your dentist periodically for check ups, just as you do with any dentist.
How much do they cost?
The cost for dental implants depends on how many you need. Many insurances have started to provide coverage as they started to see long-term benefits to dental implants over other tooth replacement options, so it would be worth it to ask your insurance provider if this is available to you. Your dentist may have financing options to make this more affordable for you, as well.
Are they worth the price?
Absolutely. The price you pay upfront doesn’t include the cost of replacing your dentures or bridges, which may be necessary every 5-15 years. Also, unlike your natural teeth or dental implants, you need extra time to remove your dentures to soak and brush them every day. In addition, dentures can slip or click when you chew, laugh, or talk.
If you’d like more information or want to know if dental implants would be the best option for you, we’d be more than happy to talk to you. Get in touch with us at your convenience and we’ll get right back to you!