Here’s a shocking statistic: more than 2% of adults between 20-65 years have lost all their teeth. Missing teeth is a common issue amongst most Americans and often leads to self-esteem issues. The good news is that people with missing teeth or unevenly spaced teeth can get dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial structures installed into the jawbone by a dental surgeon in place of missing teeth. They are typically installed with screw-like devices that act as an anchor to the crown. The crown is usually made to look, feel and function like the person’s natural teeth. With the technology and expertise involved in this procedure, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell a dental implant apart from the surrounding natural teeth.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
For most people, dental implants are often out of their budget. Luckily, there are various dental implants to choose from, and you can select the option that suits your needs and budget. There are several fees involved in the procedure. They include:
- Comprehensive dental exam
- Tooth/ teeth extraction
- Installation of the dental implant
- Placement of the screws and other abutment hardware
- Molding the crown
- Placement of the dental crown
The cost of the procedure will depend on the dental practice; some dental practices offer a free scan for first visits. However, if you use 3D imaging, you might have to shell out between $350-$515.
The average cost of one tooth implant, from scan to crown placement, is $4,000. Getting a mouthful of implants can cost between $60,000 and $90,000. The cost discrepancy happens because although the initial procedure is similar for all implants, patients can choose the type of dental implant, and the material they want for the crown.
What Is the Procedure to Get Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced and the condition of your jawbone. The steps involved in this process include:
A Comprehensive Dental Exam
The dental exam determines the number of teeth that need to be replaced. It is done using dental X-rays and 3D imaging. Molding the teeth and jaw is also done during this process.
Placing the Implant
The dental surgeon cuts into the gum until the bone is exposed and drills holes into the bone where the dental implant metal screw will be placed. It is implanted deep into the jawbone for stability since it serves as the tooth root.
Waiting for Bone Growth
The jawbone needs to grow and unite with the dental implant before anything else can be done. This helps provide a stable base for the new artificial teeth.
Placing the Abutment
The abutment is placed after the jaw heals. It’s done by cutting the gum, exposing the dental implant, attaching the abutment to the implant, and then closing the gum tissue around it. Your gums need to heal for about 2-3 weeks before the artificial tooth can be attached.
Installing the Artificial Teeth
After your gums fully heal, it’s time to install the customized crown. You can choose removable or fixed teeth or a combination of the two.
Some of the typical discomforts you are likely to deal with after the procedure include swelling gums and face, minor bleeding in the gums, jaw pain, and bruising of the gums. You might need to take pain medication if the pain is unbearable and persists for an extended period. Eating soft foods after the procedure is also advisable.