When restoring your missing teeth with dental implants, you should know the costs and benefits that make them a worthwhile investment.
After losing a tooth, the first thing patients look into is how to replace it. Several options exist, but dental implants are widely considered the best false tooth prosthetic on the market. As long as you’re a good fit for the treatment, our periodontist team usually recommends it as our top tooth replacement option. However, with this enthusiastic endorsement and amazing benefits comes a higher cost than either dental bridges or dentures.
Why are implants so expensive? Implants require a greater level of attention, time, and specialist care. They also offer unique advantages that bridges and dentures can’t hope to meet. Patients often think of implants as a single piece, just as a dental bridge or denture are. However, implants are composed of three parts, each of which must be diligently planned, crafted, and installed for their total success.
Implant: a titanium post or screw surgically embedded in the jaw where your original tooth had been. It fuses with the natural bone and acts as the artificial tooth’s root keeping it securely held in place.
Abutment: the metal connector that acts as the glue between the implant post and crown. It holds the entire dental implant together.
Dental Crown: the “tooth” part of a dental implant. This is a porcelain cap shaped to look, feel, and act just like a tooth’s enamel surface, letting you regain your old bite back.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Each patient’s smile is unique and has its individual needs. This is taken into account in your dental implant cost. A periodontist takes several factors into account when calculating the price of your procedure:
Type of dental implant (standard, mini, All-On-4, etc.)
Number of visits required
How many replacement teeth are needed
Cost of the materials used
If dental sedation is requested
Cost of additional treatments, if necessary
While some of these variables are self-explanatory, let’s look at some of them more in-depth.
Type Of Implant
A standard implant can replace one tooth at a time, with one implant post, abutment, and crown each. However, teeth implants are incredibly versatile and can be modified to fit a patient’s specific needs and preferences, including working with other prosthetics. Our Bellflower team can readily adapt our treatment plan to meet your requirements, though these changes can affect your treatment’s cost.
An implant-supported dental bridge is often necessary for patients missing three or more adjacent missing teeth. A regular bridge is secured to the teeth on either side of the empty socket. However, these modified bridges are instead attached to support implants placed at the teeth gap’s ends. The abutment teeth don’t need to be reshaped to fit a bridge’s crowns, and the overall prosthetic can stay more stable and in better shape over the years and decades.
Dentures can also be modified to attach themselves to dental implant supports. Also called “permanent dentures,” implant-supported dentures can replace anywhere from a few to all of your missing teeth simultaneously with greater stability and security. Like regular dentures, implant dentures don’t require your missing teeth to be lined up like ducks in a row. Many are still removable. However, a common type of full mouth dental implants are All-On prosthetics, which fix a complete arch of false teeth on either four or six implants.
Mini Dental Implants
If a patient doesn’t have enough bone mass to support an implant, patients may need to get a bone graft to reinforce the jaw. However, a prosthodontist can skip this extra step with mini dental implants, which use implant posts smaller than normal. These implants require less bone to anchor them, and they often need less healing and recovery time. Mini implants can be used with crowns, bridges, and dentures alike.
Many patients can’t go into their dental implant procedure as-is. We screen patients comprehensively before they start the implant process, looking at their dental and overall health to ensure they’re an excellent match. Some problems, like bone loss and periodontal disease, can harm the system of gum, bone, and connective tissues we rely on to keep implants anchored in place securely. In these cases, patients will need additional treatments to prepare their mouths for implant surgery.
Bone grafting is one of the most common treatments, and it is often included in talks about implants’ timeline. About half of all tooth implant patients need at least some bone grafting before a prosthodontist can begin the implant process. What is dental bone grafting? This surgery allows our team to place new bone material along the jaw where insufficient, often using material taken either from elsewhere in the jaw or from a donor. Equine bone and synthetic material can also be used.
What About Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance companies rarely cover a patient’s dental implant cost like they do other prosthetics, even with full coverage plans. If a provider does include implants, they usually only partially pay for the dental crown, excluding the abutment and titanium implant. However, many dental offices, ours included, do our best to ensure our patients can have affordable dental implants with alternative financing. At Bellflower Dental Group, we offer in-house financing and take Wells Fargo Health Advantage and CareCredit Dental. These options let our patients manage their treatments’ payments easier and on their schedule.
Investing In Dental Implants
If teeth implants are more expensive than other alternatives, why are they increasingly popular in Bellflower? Implants are the best tooth replacement option available, and their upfront costs are an investment. Both in the short- and long-run, they often stand head and shoulders above dentures and bridges by providing patients with unmatched benefits that can last a lifetime.
Prevents Bone Loss
As already mentioned, the jaw starts shrinking after a tooth is extracted. The alveolar bone has one purpose: supporting your tooth. Without the pressure that your tooth provides from everyday chewing and eating, the alveolar bone doesn’t get the stimulation it needs to maintain itself. The jaw quickly starts withering away as bone resorption sets in. However, since implants are the only prosthetic surgically embedded in the jaw rather than resting above the gums, they can provide your jawbone the bite force it needs. As such, teeth implants can stop resorption before it ever has a chance to set in.
Why is the support that dental implants give your jaw bone so important? As more alveolar bone is lost, the face starts to sag, and the teeth surrounding the empty socket begin shifting out of alignment to fill the growing gap. Without a prosthetic to hold them in place, your remaining teeth will become crooked. Some may even come loose and fall out! While a bridge or denture can prevent these drifting teeth from causing too much trouble, they can’t stop post-extraction tooth loss. Eventually, this resorption will reach a breaking point with these other prosthetics.
Implants also have the advantage of having the longest lifespan among any other tooth replacement option. This is thanks to both porcelain and titanium’s durability and the upkeep of your jaw’s health and strength. How long does a dental implant last? These false teeth can last between 20 and 25 years with good care, even on back teeth that experience much greater chewing forces. As long as you take great care of it, the titanium implant post itself can last you the rest of your life.
Dental implants can also vastly extend the lives of dental bridges and dentures. A traditional bridge has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Dentures, which directly rely on your jaw’s shape as-is to fit smoothly and correctly, usually last half that amount. However, with implant supports maintaining your jaw’s health, even full mouth dental implants and dentures can last more than 20 years.
Since dental implants work to replace your natural teeth entirely, you can clean and take care of them as you would your original ones. Just because your false teeth are artificial doesn’t mean your smile is safe from plaque and oral bacteria. However, with a regular implant, you can brush and floss your teeth as you’re used to. You don’t need to add any special steps, such as soaking your prosthetic in a cleaning solution with dentures or threading floss beneath a bridge to remove anything trapped underneath. This easy maintenance allows dental implant patients to avoid further oral health issues like cavities and gum disease.
Can’t wait to enjoy all that dental implants have to offer? We understand at Bellflower Dental Group! You can call our dental office at (323) 486-6579 to schedule a consultation and exam with our periodontists today.