Should I Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants provide a million dollar smile that is easy to care for and feels like natural teeth. Getting dental implants can change your whole look, and can make your life a lot easier if your teeth are not restorable; however, it’s an involved process, and can be a serious investment. You may have questions about them; what they are, who can get them, what the process is, and how much they cost. Here is a basic rundown.
What Are Dental Implants?
Essentially, dental implants are prosthetic teeth, which are used to replace natural teeth that are not restorable. With root form implants, which are the gold standard, your dentist will insert a biocompatible titanium screw into your jawbone. Once this has healed in place, a post called an abutment is installed, and a crown, bridge, or other prosthesis is attached to that.
Dental implants give a great cosmetic result, and are a vast improvement over caring for a mouth full of bad teeth. However, implantation is a serious decision, and you need a dentist with experience in this specialty.
Am I A Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
There are some factors that make you a better candidate for dental implants. The ideal candidate has general good oral health; good gums, good bone density, good oral care habits, and does not smoke. Yet another great reason to quit!
Factors like a history of mouth cancers or diseases that affect healing, like diabetes, are also a consideration.
Also, because waiting for the implants to fully heal into the bone can be time consuming, a good candidate needs patience.
How Long Do Dental Implants Take?
Depending on how fast your bone heals, it can take a year of out-patient procedures until you can see your new smile. It’s very important that the bone around your implant is strong enough to take the enormous pressures of chewing, so a reputable dentist won’t rush.
- -First, your dentist will remove the damaged tooth and probably do a bone graft to create a stable platform for implantation. This will take four to six months to heal.
- -Next, your dentist will insert the implant, and that may take as long as six months to heal.
- -Once the implant heals, the abutment can be installed. The soft tissue will heal in one or two weeks.
- -Then your dentist will make impressions of your mouth and teeth in order to make the new tooth or teeth.
- -Finally, your new teeth are placed.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost, and Will My Insurance Cover It?
A recent rough estimate runs about $850 to $3500 per tooth. It’s definitely worth it to get your dentist to do an individual assessment, as costs vary widely from patient to patient based on the amount of work necessary for each tooth. If your bone density is good, less grafting will be necessary.
Very few insurance companies cover implants, unless you need them because of a covered accident. Some medical insurance will cover bone graft surgery, but most dental coverage is designed for basic care and tops out pretty quickly. Ask your dentist’s office for the names of covering insurers.
Dental implants give you a fantastic, healthy smile; just be aware that they are a major investment in time and money. If your natural teeth can be restored, you may decide it isn’t worth it. However, implants are usually less expensive in the long run than bridgework, which has to be replaced. They also don’t shift, and require only brushing and flossing. Best of all, they look fantastic! Do your research, find a dental implant specialist, like Dr. Ouellette, with a great track record, and have the discussion.