We enjoy replacing teeth with dental implants and consider them an excellent treatment for replacing missing teeth. What follows are some commonly asked questions about dental implants.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a predictable way to permanently replace missing teeth without damaging other teeth. It involves placing a titanium screw that is carefully placed in the jawbone. It is then used to support a permanent tooth, a few teeth, or to a support a denture. Dental implants can look very natural. One of these teeth has been replaced with a dental implant. Can you guess which one it is?
(It's the right front tooth. Tooth #8 if you know your tooth numbers.)
How long will a dental implant take?
At the first appointment, we will have a consultation together with you, and the dentist to determine your exact wants and needs. Impressions or models will be made and photographs will be taken.
At the second appointment, a 3-D CT scan may be made. This will ensure that adequate bone exists to place the planned dental implants and plan their exact position.
At the next appointment, the dental implants are placed. Some patients choose sedation dentistry for this appointment. However, the placement of the dental implant feels similar to other dental procedures and many choose only local anesthestic. Oftentimes a tooth or denture is placed on the dental implant immediately after it has been placed.
The dental implant is then allowed to heal for a few months, after that final impressions are made and the permanent teeth are fabricated and placed on the dental implants. The whole dental implant process from start to finish usually takes 3-6 months. There are a few situations where it can be completed in a day, after some visits to plan and prepare.
Do dental implants hurt?
It shouldn't. We will discuss sedation dentistry to make sure that the procedure is completely comfortable. In any case we will use anesthetic, and all you should feel is gentle vibration and pressure. Most patients report not needing to take any pain medication after the procedure and that the level of discomfort is not much different than other minor dental procedures. Once the dental implant has healed, it should feel like any other healthy tooth.
How long will dental implants last?
Dental implants do not get cavities and seem to be less susceptible to gum disease. Therefore, dental implants should last longer than any other dental treatment your dentist may provide. In less than 5% of cases, the initial implant placed does not heal properly and requires replacement. Once the bone has healed around the implant they are very solid. Eventually the teeth attached to the implant will require replacement, but one should expect at least 5 years of service from the attached teeth and more than likely many more years.
Are dental implants safe?
Dental implants are made from the same materials that most hip and knee replacements are made from. Titanium is among the most bio-compatible materials that exist. There are some risks associated with dental implants, but in the hands of an experienced dentist, those risks are minimal. The dentists, at Legacy Dental, have placed and restored hundreds of dental implants and taken many hours of continuing education in implant dentistry.
How much do dental implants cost?
This can be a little tricky because dental implants can be used in so many different ways and sometimes additional procedures are needed to properly place and restore the dental implant. So with that in mind, here are some estimates:
- Replacement of a single tooth-$2,500-3,000
- Replacement of all the teeth on the top or bottom with permanent teeth-$20,000-30,000
- Replacement of all the teeth on the top or bottom with a denture held in by dental implants-$5,000-15,000
There are many payment options available to make dental implants fit your budget.
Does dental insurance pay for dental implants?
Most do. We will find out exaclty what benefit you might have for replacement of your missing teeth with dental implants.
What are alternatives to dental implants?