Dental implants have become popular for individuals looking to replace missing teeth. This dental procedure involves surgically placing an artificial tooth root of titanium into the jawbone. Once the implant is in place and healed, a replacement tooth can be attached. Dental implant placement results in natural-looking and functional tooth replacement.
Dental implants restore the appearance of a complete smile and provide many benefits that can improve oral health and overall quality of life.
While the benefits of dental implants are clear, the cost of the procedure is an important consideration for many people. Selecting the most suitable for your needs can be tricky, as dental implant prices will differ depending on various factors such as how many are required, the complexity of the placement procedure and the materials used.
This blog post will delve deeper into dental implants, discussing their benefits, risks, and cost considerations. We hope to provide you with the information you need to decide whether dental implants are the right choice for you.
- 1 Summary of the Article
- 2 What are Dental Implants?
- 3 Types of Dental Implants
- 4 The Dental Implant Procedure
- 5 Factors Affecting The Cost of Dental Implants
- 6 Types of Dental Implant Materials
- 7 Does Health Fund Cover Dental Implants?
- 8 Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
- 9 Additional Costs of Dental Implants
- 10 Dental Implant Risks and Complications
- 11 Dental Implants Longevity
- 12 Alternative to Dental Implants
- 13 Importance of Proper Dental Care
- 14 Final Thoughts
Summary of the Article
- The importance of dental implants in oral health is undeniable as they make a lot of difference in the teeth and mouth’s functionality and appearance.
- Dental implant prices may vary depending on the implant material, processes involved, and the complexity of the case.
- Though dental implants have a higher cost, they’re worth the investment because they’re durable and long-lasting.
- After dental implant surgery, proper care is essential to prevent complications and maintain oral health.
- Alternative tooth replacement options like dentures and bridges are available for those who cannot receive implants.
- Dental implants are highly successful and can last for decades or a lifetime.
- Consulting with a dental professional helps determine the treatment option that will suit your individual needs and budgets and maintain optimal oral health and function.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an advanced form of tooth replacement that requires a surgical procedure to embed artificial tooth roots into the jawbone securely. This artificial root is made of titanium, a biocompatible material that can fuse with the bone tissue in the jaw. Once the implant has fully fused with the jawbone, a replacement tooth can be attached to the implant, providing a natural-looking and functional tooth replacement.
Types of Dental Implants
There are several types of dental implants that may be used to replace missing teeth. Selecting the type of implant will depend on the patient’s needs and the complexity of the procedure. Here are some of the most popular types of dental implants available:
- Endosteal implants –
These are the most commonly used type of dental implant. Endosteal implants are placed deep into the jaw bone, often appearing as small screws. These implants can be employed for single-tooth replacements or to support a bridge or denture.
- Subperiosteal implants –
These dental implants are positioned on top of the jawbone and beneath the gum tissue. They are recommended for patients with insufficient jawbone density.
- Zygomatic implants –
As opposed to conventional implants, these implants are extended and embedded into the zygoma or cheekbone instead of being inserted into the jawbone. They are recommended for patients with severe jawbone loss and are not candidates for other types of implants.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant process typically comprises multiple phases, each of which must be completed with precision for a successful outcome:
- Initial Consultation –
It is essential to consult with a dentist to determine if dental implants are appropriate for you. This may include an exam, x-rays and other tests that could help determine a diagnosis.
- Implant Placement –
The next step is surgically placing the implant into the jawbone. This surgical procedure is commonly done with local anesthesia and involves incising through the gums to access the jawbone.
- Healing Process –
After placement, the implant is given time to fuse with the bone tissue in the jaw. This process, called osseointegration, usually takes several months.
- Abutment Placement –
Once the implant has fully fused with the jawbone, a small connector called an abutment is positioned atop the implant. The abutment serves as a base for attaching the replacement tooth.
- Replacement Tooth –
Finally, a replacement tooth or teeth are attached to the abutment, completing the dental implant procedure. The replacement teeth may be removable or fixed, depending on the patient’s needs.
Factors Affecting The Cost of Dental Implants
Dental implants can be more expensive than other alternatives like dentures or bridges. The average cost of an implant ranges between $4,000-$6000 per implant. However, this is just an estimate since several factors can influence the cost of dental implants, including:
Material and Type of Implant Used
The type of implant used can affect the cost of the procedure. For example, zygomatic implants are typically more expensive than traditional endosteal implants.
The materials used to make the implant can also affect the cost. Titanium is the most commonly used material for dental implants, but there are other options available that may be more expensive.
In some cases, pre-implant procedures such as bone grafting or sinus lifting may be needed before the implant surgery can be performed. These additional procedures can add to the overall cost of the treatment.
After placing the implant, the patient must schedule follow-up appointments with the dentist to monitor the progress. Additionally, routine maintenance like cleanings and check-ups can add to the cost over time.
Location of the Dental Clinic
Dental practices in larger cities or more affluent areas may have higher prices than those in smaller or less expensive areas. Additionally, the cost of living in a particular area can also affect the cost of dental implants.
Dental insurance plans can significantly help when paying for dental implants since they may cover a portion of the cost. However, not all policies include implant coverage. That being said, remember to verify with your provider before deciding on this treatment! Doing so will help you get the most out of your health fund and reduce the price tag associated with dental implants.
Types of Dental Implant Materials
Dental implants are typically made of biocompatible materials like titanium, which can fuse with the bone tissue in the jaw. However, other materials may be used for dental implants, depending on the patient’s needs and preferences.
If you are considering dental implants, here is a list of the most common materials used:
Titanium is the most commonly used material for dental implants. It is biocompatible, lightweight, and durable, making it an excellent choice for tooth replacement. Titanium implants are typically more affordable than other materials.
Zirconia is a ceramic material that is also biocompatible and can fuse with the bone tissue in the jaw. Zirconia implants are typically more expensive than titanium implants but may be preferred by patients with metal allergies or prefer a more natural-looking option.
- Stainless steel:
Stainless steel implants are sometimes used for temporary tooth replacement. They are not meant to be a long-term solution and are typically less expensive than other materials.
Gold implants are rarely used for dental implants due to their high cost. While gold is a biocompatible material, it is typically reserved for other dental procedures like fillings and crowns.
The material used for dental implants can affect the overall cost of the procedure. Here are some ways that materials can impact the price:
- Manufacturing costs:
Some materials, like zirconia, may require a longer process to manufacture than others, which can drive up the cost of the implant.
- Availability: Some materials, like gold, may be rare or difficult to source, which can make them more expensive.
While all dental implant materials should be biocompatible, some patients may have metal allergies or sensitivity to certain materials. In these cases, alternative materials like zirconia may be preferred, even if they are more expensive.
While all dental implant materials are designed to be durable and long-lasting, some materials may be more resilient than others. Titanium is known for its strength and durability, making it a popular choice for dental implants.
Does Health Fund Cover Dental Implants?
Whether your health fund covers implants or not will depend on the specifics of the policy. To understand how this works, here is a helpful overview:
- Hospital cover:
Some health funds may cover the cost of dental implants under hospital cover, which typically includes procedures performed in a hospital setting. However, coverage may be limited to certain types of implants or procedures.
- Extras cover:
Extras cover may include coverage for dental implants, but the extent of coverage can vary. For example, some plans may cover a portion of the cost of the implant, while others may cover the entire cost.
- Waiting periods:
Some health funds may have waiting periods before coverage for dental implants can take effect. It is essential to check with your health fund to determine if any waiting periods apply.
Furthermore, here are the limitations and constraints health funds and private providers commonly impose on dental implants:
- Annual limits:
Many dental insurance plans have yearly limits on coverage for dental procedures like implants. This means that if the cost of the implant exceeds the yearly limit, the patient may be responsible for the remaining cost.
- Pre-existing conditions:
Some health funds may not cover pre-existing dental needs, including missing teeth that existed before the patient enrolled in the plan.
Some health funds may have exclusions for certain dental procedures, including implants. It is essential to check with your health fund to determine if any exclusions apply.
Some dental insurance plans may require the patient to pay a portion of the cost of the implant, even if the plan covers it.
Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
Although Medicare provides national health insurance in Australia, it does not usually extend coverage to dental implants procedure or cosmetic and elective treatments. While Medicare covers some dental treatments deemed medically necessary, such as surgical procedures for a serious oral health condition, it does not cover routine dental care or tooth replacement procedures.
Some dental services are covered by private health insurance plans, which can be purchased in addition to Medicare coverage. Certain private health insurance plans may provide coverage for dental implant treatment, but the amount of protection offered may differ depending on the plan and provider.
Additional Costs of Dental Implants
Dental implants are an excellent option when searching for a long-term tooth replacement. However, they may be more expensive than other options, such as dentures or bridges. Along with the dental implant costs, additional treatments may be needed, which can increase your overall expense. Here are some of the additional costs of dental implants to keep in mind:
- Diagnostic tests:
Before placing the implant, the patient will undergo several tests like X-rays and CBCT scans. These tests can add to the overall cost of implants.
In some cases, a patient may need to have a tooth extracted before the implant can be placed. This additional procedure adds to the treatment cost.
- Bone grafts:
If the patient does not have enough jawbone density to support the implant, they have to undergo a bone graft procedure. This adds more to the total cost.
- Follow-up appointments:
After placing the implant, the patient must schedule follow-up appointments with the dentist to monitor proper healing.
Routine maintenance, like cleanings and check-ups, can also add to the cost over time.
- Temporary restorations:
Patients may need to wear temporary restorations while the implant is healing, which means additional charges.
Dental Implant Risks and Complications
As with any medical procedure, the placement of dental implants may have associated risks and complications that should be discussed before treatment.
Here are some of the risks and complications to be aware of:
- Infections –
These can occur at the implant site, leading to implant failure if not addressed immediately.
- Nerve Damage –
During the implant procedure, there is a risk of damage to the nerves in nearby tissue, causing numbness or pins and needles sensation around your mouth or face.
- Bone Loss –
Over time, the bone tissue in the jaw may start to deteriorate around the implant, which can cause the implant to loosen or fail.
- Rejection –
While rare, some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the implant material, which can lead to implant failure.
- Implant failure –
Dental implants can fail for several reasons, including infection, bone loss, or improper placement.
- Peri-implantitis –
This is a type of gum disease that can occur around the implant, which can cause inflammation and bone loss.
Thankfully, these risks and complications are easily preventable. To minimise the risk of having these complications, here are a few tips:
- Choose a qualified dental professional:
Choosing a dental professional experienced in implant procedures can help reduce the risk of complications.
- Practice good oral hygiene:
Maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, can help reduce the risk of infection and peri-implantitis.
- Follow post-operative instructions:
Following the post-operative instructions provided by the dental professional can help speed up healing and reduce the risk of complications.
- Monitor for signs of complications:
Patients should be aware of any signs of infection or other complications and contact their dental professional immediately if any issues arise.
Dental Implants Longevity
Patients can enjoy the many long-term benefits of dental implants, but remember a few points before deciding if they’re the right option for you. Here are some essential facts about dental implant longevity:
Dental implants are made of materials like titanium, which are biocompatible, durable, and long-lasting. Dental implants can last for decades, if not a lifetime, with proper care and maintenance.
- Success rate:
Dental implants have a high success rate, with studies showing that up to 98% of implants are successful over time.
- Individual factors:
The longevity of dental implants can vary depending on several individual factors, including overall health, oral hygiene habits, and lifestyle habits like smoking.
When handled with the utmost care, your dental implant can last a lifetime. On the other hand, the artificial tooth, whether it’s a bridge, crown or denture, has a lifespan of 5-15 years, depending on how well it is maintained.
Alternative to Dental Implants
While dental implants are a popular alternative for patients looking for tooth replacement, they are not suitable for all due to cost, individual health concerns, or personal preferences. Fortunately, several alternative options are available for patients who may not be implant candidates.
Here are some of the most common alternatives to dental implants:
- Dentures are a type of removable prosthesis that is commonly used to replace missing teeth.
- Conventional dentures are custom-made to fit the individual’s mouth and designed to look and function like natural teeth.
- While dentures can be cost-effective, they may require adjustments over time and cause discomfort or irritation for some patients.
- Dental bridges involve using adjacent teeth to support a prosthetic tooth, which is used to fill the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth.
- Bridges can be a good option for patients who have healthy adjacent teeth.
- Dental bridges require the neighbouring teeth to be trimmed.
- Bridges are not as durable or long-lasting as dental implants.
Importance of Proper Dental Care
Investing in dental implants is an immense commitment, both financially and time-wise. This is why proper dental implant care becomes paramount so that they last long while avoiding any possible issues. Good oral hygiene habits must be considered for optimal dental health following implant surgery.
Here are some of the reasons why good dental hygiene is essential after dental implant surgery:
- Poor oral hygiene can lead to infection, which can cause the implant to fail.
- Plaque and bacteria can accumulate around the implant, leading to gum disease and bone loss.
- Failure to follow post-operative instructions can also increase the risk of complications and implant failure
Proper dental care after dental implants:
- Brush and floss regularly:
Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent plaque buildup and infection around the implant.
- Regular dental check-ups:
With the importance of dental implants in mind, regular check-ups with a dental professional allow them to detect any issues early on and prevent further complications.
- Quit smoking:
Smoking can increase the risk of implant failure and other oral health issues, so quitting is highly recommended.
- Follow post-operative instructions:
Following the post-operative instructions provided by the dental professional, including dietary restrictions and medication management, can promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications.
Dental implants are an excellent option for those seeking long-term tooth replacement. Despite being more expensive than other alternatives, dental implants provide many benefits, such as improved oral health, speech, and self-esteem. However, the cost of dental implants can be affected by various factors, including the type of implant used, pre and post-implant procedures, location of the dental clinic, and insurance coverage. Patients should also be aware of the risks and complications associated with dental implants and take proper care to maintain good oral hygiene after the procedure. In the end, it’s best to consult with a dental professional to determine if dental implants are the right choice for your individual needs.
At Mary River Dental, we understand the importance of dental implants, so we strive to provide our patients with quality services. Contact us today to learn more about our dental services. Let us help you achieve your dream smile based on your unique needs and budget. Together, let us work on getting that beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.