If you’re wondering who invented dental implants, it was a Swedish orthopedic surgeon called Per-Ingvar Branemark back in 1952. Today, dental implants have an important place in dentistry, not only for their durability but also for being the closest thing to mimic natural teeth. But let's face it. Dental implants are not the cheapest option when it comes to replacing lost or flawed teeth. So, are they a worthy investment? We sought to find out, and this is what we discovered.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial screw-like root made of titanium, that’s surgically placed in the mouth. The implant then fuses to your natural bone through a series of processes, collectively known as osseointegration, to create a strong foundation upon which an artificial ceramic crown will be placed. While dental implants have become the most preferred method of tooth replacement, they may not suit everyone. First off, you need healthy bones and sufficient bone height to support an implant. Additionally, patients suffering from certain conditions like diabetes and leukemia may be ill-suited for implants. It's usually advisable to get a dental implant immediately after tooth loss to prevent bone loss, which can occur the longer you wait to get treatment for a broken or lost tooth. Dental implants have several advantages, including:
- They last a lifetime compared to a bridge and crown which have a maximum lifespan of around five to 10 years.
- They are stable, comfortable, and secure, just like your natural tooth.
- They look more natural compared to dentures or bridges, with no visible hardware.
- They won't damage surrounding teeth.
Dental Implants: The Procedure
Dental implants involve a multi-step process that can take several months. The duration one takes to heal between processes depends on several things like overall health. The full dental implant procedure can be summarized as follows:
- Tooth extraction in case of a fractured tooth.
- Bone grafting, which is normally determined by your overall health. It's, especially, a requirement for patients whose jawbones are not thick enough to support the procedure.
- Placing the dental implant surgically into the bone.
- A temporary denture or crown may be placed to fill the gap as you wait for your jawbone to fuse with the titanium implant. This may take between two to six months.
- Abutment. Once the jawbone heals completely, the abutment (the piece that connects the implant to the crown) is placed. Your gums will need to be reopened to expose the titanium implant and attach the abutment to it.
- Placing the permanent crown. After the abutment is attached, it may take your gum another two weeks to heal. It's after this period that the permanent crown will be placed.
Dental Implants Vs. Other Tooth Replacement Methods
Dentures and bridges are the other two alternatives of tooth replacement. They are not as expensive but will need replacing or repair every five to 10 years. When you factor in the cost of this regular maintenance, in the long run, you’d be better off opting for dental implants. However, if you're tight on a budget, dentures, and bridges are great options that will serve you well. Dental implants, on the other hand, can last a lifetime and don’t require regular maintenance. What’s more, implants prevent your jawbone from deteriorating, a function dentures and bridges can't do.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants are made of titanium, a strong and sturdy biocompatible material accepted by the body. Because of this, implants serve as the foundation for long-lasting teeth replacement. The implants are surgically fitted into your natural bone, fusing into the jawbone. This makes them completely safe.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Many factors come to play when it comes to the cost of dental implants. The main reason is that each case is unique and the procedure may vary from one patient to another depending on their specific needs. Some of the factors that determine the price of implants include:
- Your location. Dentists in your area may be charging more than dental clinics in other areas.
- The patient's condition. Each patient has unique needs. If your jawbone and gum, for example, are not strong enough, you may be required to undergo grafting, which increases the cost.
- Other costs that may affect the overall cost of dental implants include the cost of office visits, tooth extraction, the abutment, and the crown. A single dental implant can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000 per implant. If the other charges are included, be ready to chuck between $3,000 and $4,800. However, the price may vary greatly between dentists and your location.
Why Are Dental Implants So Expensive?
You must be asking yourself why dental implants are so costly?
- Well, first off, an implant requires invasive surgery that calls for an expert or surgeon. So, in essence, you're paying for the skills of an oral surgeon or a prosthodontist.
- Dental implants involve several consultations and examinations to ensure that you don’t get infections throughout the procedure. Furthermore, your dentist may require to do X-rays to determine the best approach.
- Dental implants involve several pieces of hardware like the titanium implant itself, the abutment, and the permanent crown. All these pieces increase the overall cost. To help lower these costs, check with your insurance if they cover dental implants. When shopping around for the best prices, don’t fall for the lowest prices since the cost of other essential components may not be included.
Any thoughts? Let us know your comments!
The site isn't responsible for the opinions expressed by third parties, delegating any legal responsibility to them.