False Teeth - Making the Right Choices

Dental Implants: Q&A

Dental implants are used to replace natural teeth that have been lost or extracted. Here are a few questions and answers about dental implants.

What makes dental implants different from other tooth replacement options?

A dental implant is designed to replace not only the crown of a tooth, but also the root. As a result, the implant can function in the same manners as a natural tooth. Other tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges and dentures, have false teeth that rest on the surface of the gums.

Are there conditions that can cause you to be a poor candidate for a dental implant?

In order to receive a dental implant, you need sufficient bone mass to support the implant's installation. Each implant is a titanium screw that is surgically implanted into the jawbone. If your jawbone density is insufficient for the procedure, your dentist may suggest a bone graft.

In addition, people with diabetes who have uncontrolled blood sugar may be advised against receiving an implant until their blood sugar stabilizes because hyperglycemia can affect the success rate of the implant.

How does an implant become secure enough in the bone to withstand bite pressure?

After an implant screw is placed, it fuses with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. This healing process takes several months. The abutment and dental crown are not usually added to the implant until osseointegration is complete.

Other than single-tooth restorations, how are dental implants used?

Dental implants can also be used as supports for dental bridges and dentures. However, single tooth crowns are not usually added for these applications. Instead, for dental bridges, the crowns that are already affixed to the bridge are used to cover the supporting implants. For dentures, a special connector on the underside of the appliance may be used to affix a denture to a stabilizing implant.

How much do dental implants cost?

The cost of a full single-tooth restoration with an implant, which would include the cost of the implant, abutment and crown, is usually about $4,250. However, if other prosthetic dental applications are involved, such as dentures or dental bridges, the full cost of the restoration will differ. For instance, a teeth-replacement procedure using a dental bridge that is mounted on two dental implants and is used to replace three or four teeth has an average cost of $8,500.

If you are considering a dental implant, schedule an appointment with a local dentist. He or she can determine whether or not you are a good candidate for implant surgery.