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Dental Implants

 

Dental implants replace missing or damaged teeth. They are made of artificial materials, and unlike dental bridges, they do not need the support of other teeth to be functional. However, they do act as support for other dental prosthetics such as dental crowns and dentures. Many people classify them as prosthetic dentistry, but they are also common among the cosmetic dentistry field. Dental implants are the logical choice for people who exhibit good oral health and have lost a tooth or teeth due to reasons such as periodontal disease. They are natural looking and resemble real teeth, plus they are more durable and last longer than other restorative options. Dental implants can also:
dental implant diagram

  • Provide support to other dental prosthetics for added comfort and security
  • Replace one or more teeth without affecting the surrounding teeth and gums
  • Eliminate the need for removable partial dentures

Types of Dental Implants

There are three types of dental implants used in today’s dental world: endosteal, subperiosteal and mini-dental implants.

Endosteal simply means ‘in the bone.’ It is the most common type of implant used today as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures and each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. Screws, cylinders or blades are surgically placed into the bone.

Subperiosteal simply means ‘on the bone.’ These implants are placed on top of the jawbone with metal framework posts sticking through the gum to hold the implant. Generally, patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures or have less bone than other patients use this type of implant.

Mini dental implants are just that, miniature traditional dental implants. They are not fully submerged into the bone like a normal procedure would do, and they are less expensive. Plus, if they fail they are easily repaired.

Dental Implants Cost

The cost of dental implants depends on many factors such as the dentist performing the procedure, the location of the dentist, the materials used to make the implants, how many implants are being placed and what type of dental insurance you have. Some dental plans cover the cost of dental implants since they fall into the category of prosthetics. If you were to see a prosthodontist, chances are your dental insurance will cover some of the costs. You have to be aware that dental implants also fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, and dental insurance plans usually do not cover cosmetic procedures.

Still, dental implants range in price from $1,000 to $5,000 each, depending on the factors listed above. If you were looking to restore your entire mouth with dental implants, it can cost up to $100,000.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Here are a few questions that may or may not suggest that you are a good candidate for dental implants:

  • Do you have good oral hygiene?
  • Do you have enough bone in your jaw to support the implant?
  • Are you embarrassed by your smile?
  • Do you have periodontal disease?
  • Are your gums healthy or do they bleed after brushing?

Only people who exhibit proper oral hygiene habits and possess enough bone in their jaws are good candidates for this restorative procedure. Implants can be costly, and if they do not ‘take’ well, they can fall out. If your gums bleed after you brush your teeth, it may be a sign of periodontal disease. Regular check-ups to the dentist should help avoid this type of procedure, as well as additional problems such as periodontal disease.

Page updated September 2012

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