What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is replacement for a tooth root. It preserves bone and provides a stable foundation for a crown. Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material used in orthopedic implants.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Dental implant treatment is a long-term solution for missing teeth. Bridges need to be replaced every 10-15 years. Partials and dentures need to be relined, repaired and replaced every few years.
Dental implants prevent the bone deterioration that results from loss or removal of teeth, preserving the natural appearance of the smile.
Dental implant treatment does not involve the adjacent teeth, so the health of the teeth is not compromised.
Will my new teeth look natural?
Your new teeth will look like natural teeth. Since dental implants prevent bone resorption, there will not be a defect in the bone that can compromise the appearance of your smile.
How long do they last?
Clinical research documents long-term success rates of over 95%, which is much higher than success rates for other treatment options for replacing teeth. Research demonstrates that a supported bridge lasts about 7-10 years and that partials and dentures about 5 years.
Dental implants are designed to be permanent, although there are many factors that impact the long-term success, including regular maintenance and home care.
Do dental implants ever fail?
Dental implant treatment is very predictable, with a success rate of over 95%. However, on rare occasions the bone does not fuse to the implants. When this occurs, the implants must be replaced. The documented success rates for the new implants are higher than 95%.
How do I know if I am a candidate for dental implant treatment?
Anyone in general good health is usually a candidate for dental implant treatment. There are a few medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes that can lower the success rates, but there are very few conditions that would prevent you from having dental implants.
The quality and quantity of bone in the area where implants are to be placed is more often a factor in determining whether you are a candidate for the procedure than medical conditions. However, even if you have lost a significant amount of bone, you can still have dental implants with additional bone grafting procedures.
How long does the process take?
If your situation is not complex, it usually takes several weeks to few months to complete treatment. If you are missing all of your teeth or have lost a significant amount of bone, it can take six to nine months.
Is the procedure painful?
Although everyone has a different threshold for pain, most patients are comfortable simply taking something as mild as Tylenol or Advil for any discomfort. In fact, many patients report that the discomfort was barely noticeable.
How much do dental implants cost?
Most people assume that there is a set cost for each implant. However, there are several factors that determine the final cost of treatment, including the number of teeth being replaced, the type of replacement teeth, and any additional procedures necessary to achieve the ideal functional and aesthetic results.
The fees are calculated based on the amount of time your dentist and surgical specialist anticipate spending to complete treatment, the cost of the dental implants and other components, as well as dental laboratory fees. There is a fee for the surgical portion of treatment (implant placement, bone grafting) and a separate fee for the restorative treatment (fabrication of replacement teeth).
The fee for dental implant treatment is usually comparable to other methods of tooth replacement; however, it is much more cost effective than other options, which need to be replaced every 5-10 years.
Are dental implants covered by dental insurance?
Insurance coverage for dental implants depends entirely on the individual policy. Benefit coverage is determined strictly by the amount paid for the policy and there are restrictions and limitations with most plans.
Dental benefit plans are designed to cover minimal basic care. The insurance companies use statistical data to set their own “usual and customary fee” schedule and there is an annual maximum benefit of $1,000-$1,500 on most plans.
Many plans exclude dental implants as a covered benefit, while others pay the same benefit as the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures). When dental implants are a covered benefit, the coverage is still limited to the annual maximum of the policy.
Are dental implants covered by medical insurance?
Medical insurance sometimes covers people who have medical conditions as a result of complete tooth loss. There is also benefit coverage for some bone grafting procedures. Other than these specific situations, coverage is rare.
Accidents and work-related injuries are sometimes covered by insurance. Medicare does not cover implant treatment. For most patients, it is best to assume that medical insurance will not cover dental implant treatment.