Dental implants are used to replace the root of the tooth. The implants are placed in the jaw to serve as an anchor for replacement teeth.
There are two main types of dental implants:
- Most commonly used type of dental implant
- Placed in the jawbone
- Usually made of titanium and shaped like small screw
- Placed under the gum but on, or above, the jawbone
- Used in patients who do not have enough healthy natural jawbone and cannot, or do not want to, undergo a bone augmentation procedure to rebuild it
The cost for implant teeth varies widely. Factors to consider are not only the cost of the dental implant itself, which is just the metal or ceramic screw that goes into the jawbone, but the part that attaches the crown to the implant (the abutment) and the crown itself. Some patients also need a sinus lift or bone graft to make the jawbone healthy enough to keep the implant stable. All these things factor into the cost.
The American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute cost survey estimates the total cost of a single implant, abutment, crown and other necessary procedures ranges from $3,100 to $5,800. For people who need to replace multiple teeth, the cost ranges from $6,000 to $10,000.
For full-mouth dental implants, the cost may range from $60,000 to $90,000.
Implant-supported dentures are a less expensive option, in which two full arches of false teeth replace the natural upper and lower teeth. The arch is anchored to four to six implants each in the upper and lower jaw. This is called the “All-on-4” option and can cost from $24,000 to $50,000 for a complete set.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
- A metal or ceramic screw is surgically inserted into the jawbone. The bone around the implant heals and the bone grows around it (osseointegration), which holds it in place, making dental implants strong. Osseointegration can take several months for the implant to become completely integrated before replacement teeth are attached to the implant. (Sometimes, the implants and replacement teeth may be placed in the same visit.)
- For single tooth implants, a dentist customizes a new tooth for the patient (a dental crown) based on size, shape, color, and fit, that is designed to blend in with the rest of the teeth. If more than one tooth is being replaced, custom-made bridges or dentures are made to fit the mouth and implants.
- Patients may be given a temporary crown, bridge, or denture to help with eating and speaking while they wait for the permanent replacement teeth to be produced.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Advantages of dental implants include:
- They are stable and secure after they have healed
- They do not need the teeth around them to provide support
- They do not damage surrounding teeth over time
- They are low maintenance
- They last a long time: when cared for properly, dental implants last between 10 to 15 years
What Are the Disadvantages of Dental Implants?
Disadvantages of dental implants include:
- Cost: dental implants can cost as much as two to five times more than bridges and dentures
- Not all insurance plans cover dental implants
- The process of getting dental implants takes longer to complete than other options
- There is a small risk of infection and disease because it is a surgical procedure
- Not everyone is a good candidate for this type of procedure
- Implants require healthy bones