Dental implants are a great alternative to bridges or dentures if you have experienced tooth loss. But you should understand the risks and costs involved before you make the decision to get dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Basically, your dentist will surgically install one or more metal posts, similar to a screw, directly into your jawbone. The posts act like your teeth’s natural roots and can anchor individual crowns or entire bridges.
Once the site heals and your new implants are complete, they’ll feel just like your natural teeth. Many people prefer implants to dentures, which are tough to maintain, or traditional bridges that have to be anchored to your existing teeth.
Why Are Implants So Much Better?
The metal posts will fuse with your jawbone, essentially becoming a permanent part of your body. That means you won’t ever have to worry about forgetting your false teeth!
You also don’t need to alter your other teeth to install an implant. Most bridges rely on the surrounding teeth for support, which means grinding and shaping those teeth. That’s not great for your mouth in the long run.
Another bonus of dental implants? No slipping and sliding while you talk or eat! You also won’t have to endure the pain and sore spots that some dental devices can cause over time.
They Aren’t Right for Everyone
Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate to get dental implants. Your gums need to be healthy in order to have the surgery, so smokers and people with chronic gum disease may not be approved.
Your dentist will ultimately make the call about whether you’re healthy enough to get dental implants.
How Long Does It Take–And Do Dental Implants Hurt?
Once you and your dentist have created a treatment plan, the first step is getting a tooth root implant. It takes anywhere from 6-12 weeks for the titanium post to heal and fuse with your jaw.
After that, you’ll need to have an additional connector post installed and, finally, a crown or bridge created from a mold of your teeth.
The surgery is done with a local anesthetic, so you’ll be awake but won’t feel anything. After the procedure, most patients are able to manage any discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication.
Okay, But How Much Will It Cost?
The biggest question for most people considering dental implants is cost. Unfortunately, many insurance plans won’t cover the procedure. That’s not really fair, considering that implants are the first choice of many dentists for tooth replacement. Check with your insurance company about options for dental implants.
If insurance won’t cover the cost, you’re looking at a minimum of $1500 per implant. However, it’s more likely that you’ll pay $3000-$4000 per tooth.
Keep in mind that your new teeth are designed to last a lifetime. Is your smile worth the price tag? Only you can decide!