There’s no cure for tooth loss. It continues to be something people deal with every day despite major improvements in dental technology year after year. Tooth decay, periodontal disease, and injury to the mouth are all reasons why millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss.
If a patient doesn’t want to spend the rest of their life with a missing tooth, then they’ll need to get a dental implant. Thankfully there are quite a few dental implant solutions, and most of them offer long-term success. That means you won’t need to undergo more than one operation.
We’ll break it all down in this Dental Implant Guide.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are dental prosthetics that replace missing teeth. They’re made of titanium that’s been shaped to look like dental roots. The dental implant is either partially or fully submerged in the jaw bone, and eventually, the body will grow around it, a process called osseointegration.
In some cases, the implants are designed to be removed but only on rare occasions. Removable false teeth would be considered dentures, not implants.
Types of Dental Implants
In total, there are three main types of dental implants. Each type offers different methods for placing the implants, different connectors, and size options. The type of implant that’s used is determined by what will match your teeth best and last the longest. Here are the different types of dental implants.
Endosteal implants are most commonly used for dental implants. These dental implants are inserted into the jaw bone. They can be used for natural teeth, dental crowns, dental bridges, or a combination of these dental prosthetics.
Endosteal dental implants can either be placed in the gums (subgingival) or under gum tissue (subperiosteal). The placement will depend on how much dental bone there is and the condition of a patient’s gum tissue.
In some cases, endosteal dental implants can be placed on top of dental roots or under dental crowns to support dental bridges.
Shell dental implants are made of titanium and are also inserted into the jawbone, but they don’t have any threads.
Shell dental implants are often used in cases where there is dental bone but not enough to support dental crowns or dental bridges. They’re also good for patients who have wider gaps between their teeth because the implant can be placed over two natural teeth and bridge the gap.
The shell dental implant may need additional metal parts, like dental crowns, dental bridges, or dental posts to hold them in place.
The last type of dental implant is an endosseous dental implant, and it’s also inserted into the jaw bone, but these dental implants are made exclusively out of metal alloy.
Endosseous dental implants are usually used for dental bridges because they’re the only metal dental implant that’s strong enough to support a dental bridge.
When You Should Get Dental Implants
Dental implants are dental prosthetics that replace missing teeth. You don’t have to get implants, but it’s often recommended both to improve the condition of your smile and for you to be able to use your teeth for chewing.
If someone is missing any teeth, they should get dental implants to avoid problems like increased dental decay, dental disease, and difficulty chewing. Dental implants are dental prosthetics that replace missing teeth and ultimately help to improve the quality of life you can experience. The sooner you get dental implants after losing your teeth, the better for your mouth.
Alternatives to Dental Implants
Dentures are the leading alternative to implants and can be a good option for patients who have dental bone but not enough dental roots or dental crowns in order to support dental bridges. They’re also used as an alternative when someone wants dental implants but has a medical condition that could prevent them from getting dental implants.
Dentures are false teeth, which means they don’t need to be removed and can be used while eating or speaking. However, they’re not as strong as dental implants, so denture wearers will often have worse dental hygiene than those with dental implants because their dental prosthetics are removable.
If dental implants and dentures both sound like good options to you, then it’s best to go with dental implants if possible because they’re a better alternative in the long run. Dental implants also don’t require any specific care. All you’ll need to do is brush your teeth regularly.
Pros and Cons of Getting Implants
The first advantage of dental implants is that they don’t require any special care. All you’ll need to do for dental implants is brush your teeth, floss, and visit the dentist for regular check-ups.
One of the biggest downsides, however, would be the cost of dental implants. To get a dental implant, you’ll need to undergo pretty extensive surgery, and it can amount to a pretty significant medical bill if it’s not covered through insurance.
Here are a few more pros and cons:
- Dental implants are the strongest option for dental bridges and dental crowns, so they’re a better long-term investment than dentures, dental bridges, or dental crowns.
- They look and feel like natural teeth.
- Allow you to eat and chew without any problems.
- Easy to take care of and maintain.
- The cost of getting dental implants is high, so it may not be an option for everyone.
- There are set requirements for a patient’s conditions.
- The process and procedure can be lengthy.
- 5-10% of patients do experience implant failure.
Whether the pros outweigh the cons will always be up to the individual that’s looking into getting the implants, but most patients consider them a great alternative to missing teeth or wearing dentures.
Dental Implant Process: From Start to Finish
The dental implant process is usually broken down into three stages called the pre-operative, operative, and post-operative stages. Each stage will require different information and work to be done both for the patient and the dental professional that’s helping to ensure the process goes smoothly.
The dental professional will examine your mouth to see if the implant is a good option for you. They’ll also want to know what kind of dental implant you’re interested in. Don’t worry, though, if you have questions or aren’t sure of your options. The dentist will be able to go over everything with you.
The next step will be to take impressions of your teeth and dental implants so the dental professional can create dental implants that are the appropriate size and shape to fit in your mouth. This is a really simple and easy process. Getting dental impressions are similar to what happens when the dentist takes impressions of your teeth for braces or other similar treatments.
There’s also a dental scan, but not all dentists will use this type of scan. A scan will essentially do the same thing that impressions do, except that it’s more accurate. Unfortunately, the technology to scan your mouth isn’t widely accepted or available due to the cost.
Your dental professional may also want to take X-rays of your mouth to get a good look at your jaw bone and any other area that could possibly be damaged.
The dental professional will then get to work on making your dental implants. This can take a while depending on the dentist, but it’s important that dental implants are made accurately to your dental needs and desires.
You’ll also have a mold of your mouth made for the surgical guide that will be used in the dental implant process. The surgical guide will ensure that your dental implants are put into place correctly and quickly during the operation.
In some cases, your dentist may also want to wait for a period of time, up to six weeks, before the dental implant is installed. The dental professional may have you wear temporary dental implants to ensure that the dental implant is a good fit for your mouth.
When it comes time for the procedure, your dentist will guide you through each step of how the procedure will work and what will happen. The implants can take between 1 and 2 hours to be installed.
After your dental implant is installed, you’ll need to take care of it for the first few days after surgery. Your dentist or surgeon will provide detailed instructions on how to care for your dental implant and what you should do if there are any complications.
What happens and what you’re required to do will depend on the type of dental implant you received, but it’s usually a week to ten days. You’ll need to be careful with your dental implant and avoid chewing or biting down on it for a few days.
The dental implant process and procedure can be lengthy and somewhat frustrating at times, but thankfully, after the implant is installed and your mouth starts to heal, you won’t have to worry about it again.
Dental Implant Cost
Dental implants are expensive, but they’re also very durable and can last up to 30 years or more, making them well worth the investment. It’s important that dental implants will be something you can afford and that dental insurance will cover at least part of the cost. Without at least some help, dental implants can be very expensive and hard to afford for most people.
Here’s the average cost breakdown for dental implants, dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures.
Dental Implants: $3000-$8000 per implant. Many times, two or more dental implants are needed.
Dental Crowns: $1200-$3000 per dental crown.
Dental Bridges: $1200-$4000 for dental bridges that are attached to one or two teeth on either side.
Dentures: $4000-$6000 for dentures that are used to replace teeth.
The cost of dental insurance will vary depending on the dental plan you choose, but dental insurance can also be a good way to get at least some of your dental implants covered. Be sure to check out our post on best dental insurance plans for more info on those.
Are Dental Implants Right For Me?
Dental implants are an excellent dental solution for people with tooth loss. They’re strong, durable, and can last for decades. Dental implants are the dental solution that comes with the best benefits and fewest risks, but it’s important to remember that dental implants are expensive, and dental insurance may not cover the whole cost.
Dental implants are also an invasive treatment because dental implants require dental surgery. You’ll need to take a dental implant procedure seriously and be sure that you’re ready for the dental surgery before going through with the implants. Many patients equate the experience of getting implants to that of having wisdom teeth removed. It’s definitely not a fun surgery to undergo.
If you find yourself considering dental implants, would like a second opinion, or want to learn more about the process that we’ve built around implants here at Wayzata Dental, we’d love to talk with you. Getting implants or any type of major dental operation is no small thing, and it’s important that you do your research and learn about the available options.
Wayzata Dental is a premium laser dental office, and we offer only the best care to our dental patients. We want what’s best for you from start to finish. So contact us today to book an appointment, or head over to our website to chat with a representative. You can also learn more about our restorative dental services here.