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Published: July 5, 2021

Dental Implants: Cost, Concerns, and Why They're Better than Other Options

For many people, part of their dental health journeys involve having dental implants. Having bad teeth get replaced is part of what keeps mouths and bones healthy and stable after decay or damage sets in. Dentists have been able to determine a very effective and efficient way of maintaining good oral health through utilizing dental implants. Dental implants cost, as well as changes in your mouth because of dental implants, and changes in your oral health will be major factors to consider when making important oral health decisions like this. These factors will help you see all the ways dental implants can benefit you.

What is a Dental Implant?

The procedure is done by putting a screw into the jaw where a healthy tooth would have grown its root. On top of the screw, a piece called an “abutment” sits sticking up where your tooth would be. 

The dental implant abutment isn’t shaped like a tooth, so it is then covered or capped by a “crown.” While some teeth need the protection of just a crown by itself, missing teeth, either from falling out or having been damaged enough to be removed, will have to be fully replaced with a dental implant.

What are Dental Implants Made of? 

The screw and abutment are usually made of the same material, while the crown is made of a different material. The screw and abutment in dental implants are pretty much made of either Titanium or Zirconia.

Titanium is used frequently for medical procedures as it actually fits with the body naturally, so the body almost never rejects the material. When the screw is put in your jaw, the bone will actually grow around it instead of wearing away. Your bone re-growing only takes between 6 to 12 weeks!

Zirconia is a more recent development. It is used when you want to have the screw and abutment all in one piece. This keeps the abutment one steady height and shape and can’t be changed like an attached abutment, which can screw on and off.

Crowns are usually made of porcelain or ceramic, but have also been made of resins or metals, like gold and silver. Porcelain and ceramic are the materials closest to the natural color and texture of your teeth, so if you aren’t wanting a flashy attachment, those materials would be best for you. The crown caps onto the abutment so that the implant takes on the shape of your tooth.

Costs

While dental implants costs will vary for every appointment, dental implants cost on average $2,000 to $5,000. The average cost of a dental implant can be changeable depending on the materials used for the screw, abutment, and crown, as well as where the dental implant is needed, the shape of the crown (front tooth vs. molar, etc.), and how extensive the damage around the missing tooth is, making it more or less difficult to install an implant.

The cost doesn’t include any bone grafting or scans needed to examine and diagnose the damage to the tissue where the implant is planned to go, such as any infected roots or exposed nerves. It can include the aspects that will prepare the site for the implant, such as the initial dental exam, damaged tooth removal, bone growth, and some jawbone preparation for where the bone socket of the missing tooth is.

Concerns

There are usually much fewer and rarer concerns with a dental implant than with other forms of oral surgery, and the issues can be treated easily.

Pain

Like after any surgery, most individuals experience pain after receiving a dental implant. Dental implant pain usually lasts for one to two days, but can last up to ten days, more often as a discomfort. The pain is caused by the tissue's natural reaction after having new material inserted in your gums, such as leftover bruising, swelling, and general feeling of rawness. There will also be minor bleeding from the surgical site as the wounds close and heal.

Especially with upper jaw implants, patients may experience comfort around the cheeks and underneath the eyes, as well as in the chin. This is mostly due to having a new screw placed deep into the bone where a tooth root used to be, and the nerves react to the newly filled space.

The pain can usually be treated if necessary with usual over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen as long as it doesn't interact with other medications you may be taking. In essence, the post-dental implant pain you can experience will be much more minor than the pain you would experience from the infected tooth or empty gums prior to the implant.

Although it is rare, if pain continues for more than two weeks, you should return to your dentist to check for potential concerns such as infection.

Surgical Concerns

Dental implants have a very high success rate for looking and feeling and acting like your natural teeth. The few surgical concerns are also able to be corrected without much difficulty, although you should consult your surgeon if you are concerned. Nerve damage can occur due to damage or injury to nearby teeth, especially if the nerve for the tooth is having issues of its own. Dental implants in the top of your mouth can accidentally extend into the sinus cavities when being put through bone. With these symptoms, speak right away to your surgeon, but these are very rare.

Actions like smoking, failing to clean your teeth, and chewing hard items like ice can damage the crowns and the surrounding natural teeth. Tooth grinding, often overnight without dental guards, can also damage your teeth and nullify the crown. Be careful with your teeth after this kind of surgery becomes necessary.

Why Are Dental Implants Needed?

More Medically Beneficial

When your teeth experience problems, this actually affects your whole mouth down to the bone. Your jaw bone will actually deteriorate without proper care, especially if you have missing teeth, which is why dentists are so adamant about having you brush and floss. When your teeth are cracked or infected and it becomes painful or embarrassing to chew and smile, action needs to be taken.

If someone hasn’t cared properly for their teeth, teeth may need to be removed. If a tooth has rotted, past the point of a cavity, it can develop abscesses or decay that impacts the inside of your teeth. Once the inside pulp of your tooth has been infected, the tooth may have to be removed before the infection spreads along the root and infects other parts of your jaw bone and teeth.

It can be difficult to get all of the infection out of a tooth, but many processes are in place to remove it. Cavities can be filled, teeth can be descaled, root canals can be emptied, teeth can be extracted. However, the later stages of decay as well as tooth removal can impact the layout and health of your other teeth.

Gaps caused by extracted teeth can actually cause the rest of your teeth to shift, causing everything from crooked teeth to bite issues. A missing tooth can also cause deterioration in your jaw bone and can cause your face to look sunken in. Having this gap filled in with an implant will prevent your other teeth from shifting and your jaw bone from regressing.

In Comparison

Dentures and bridges can't change this, although they can cover the gap from view which is many people's concern. Having a cracked or broken tooth, or having a missing tooth, is often seen as shameful and impacts the confidence of those missing the teeth. While covering the area with removable dentures or a non-implanted cap of a bridge across the missing tooth will make your teeth appear whole, it won't fill the hole in the bone and gums.

To make dental bridges, you have to grind down healthy teeth into abutment shapes that can receive crowns on either side of the open gum. The bridge is then cemented down over the hole. The cement can still be loose and have to be adjusted.

Dentures also can't fill the missing tooth, just cover the empty gums. Whether you have a partial denture that covers nearby gums and places a faux tooth over your empty gum or full dentures across the entire top or bottom of your mouth, dentures won't fill in the tooth root area underneath your gums. They also require additional care, such as being taken out while eating and sleeping, requiring denture paste when put in, and needing extra cleaning.

Worth Trying Dental Implants

If you are in need of replacing teeth, dental implants are the most healthy and maintenance-free option for your mouth. Obviously, it is best to keep your natural teeth healthy and connected, but in cases where this can't be or hasn't been done, having a dental implant keeps the jaw and surrounding teeth in place, healthy, and pain-free.

If you are in the Tarzana, Arizona area and believe you might need dental implants services, call Dental Plus Tarzana where you can get an evaluation scheduled.

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