Everything You Need to Know About Dental Implants

Dental implants are fast being considered the preferred treatment for replacing lost teeth. An alternative to dentures, dental implants typically last a lifetime, with a failure rate of less than five percent, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). Millions of Americans suffer from missing teeth – mostly due to tooth decay, gum disease, or injury. In fact, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) about one in five older adults age 65 and over have lost all their natural teeth.There are plenty of other reasons to replace a tooth—fractures, cavities, loose or cracked teeth—but, dental implants aren’t appropriate for every patient. Those who smoke or already have substantial bone loss are not good candidates for dental implants.

The procedure itself is straightforward—a surgeon places a titanium screw that fuses with the jawbone, and prosthetic teeth are secured to the implant.

Unlike dentures, dental implants won’t move around or interfere with your sense of taste, and, according to the AAOMS, they are healthier since they allow the bone to continue to grow.

Dental implants can also last a lifetime, whereas the patient can look forward to replacing a bridge in 8 – 20 years and dentures within five to seven years.

 

Cost Considerations

For all their advantages, dental implants are expensive and insurance coverage can be limited.

According to a New York Times’ article, a single implant can cost $3,000 to $4,500, depending on geographic location. And, a full or partial set of dental implants can run from $20,000 to as much as $45,000.

While some dental insurance plans are covering the costs, annual reimbursement limits are typically capped at $1,500.

There are other options, including discount dental plan memberships like DentalPlans.com, which offer savings of 10% to 60% on dental work including cosmetic procedures like dental implants with select plans.

 

Alternatives

Dental bridges can be covered by dental insurance and are usually the go-to procedure if you’ve lost a single tooth. But, they can cost almost as much as an implant and have potential dental health repercussions that can add to the overall cost.

With a bridge, your dentist will have to file down the two adjacent teeth to create a structure that secures the replacement tooth. These filed teeth are more vulnerable to decay and nerve damage, and there’s also a good chance you will require a root canal in the future.

Another alternative to dental implants are dentures, especially if you need to replace most or all of your teeth. They are cheaper, costing around $2,500 for a set, which includes your upper and lower jaws. However, they are often ill-fitting and can make clicking noises when you speak or eat.

In the end, whether you opt for dental implants, dental bridges or dentures, the choice depends on your dental needs, preference and budget.

Has cost kept you from getting dental implants? Share your story in the comments below.

 

 

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