Cosmetic Dentistry Dental Implants

Dental implants and mini dental implants are one of the most functional and effective ways to fix missing or broken teeth. The process of receiving these implants is bearable, and, after a few appointments, you will be able to have a mouth just as efficient as it was before your teeth became damaged.

The Dental Implant Procedure

The first step in the dental implant process is the initial consultation and examination. Dental implants are not for everyone, so the dentist will examine your teeth and take x-rays to determine if your jawbones are healthy enough to receive implants.

Dental Implants - Cosmetic Dentistry

The actual procedure for dental implants involves two stages. On the first appointment, your dentist will need to insert a metal implant that acts as the root for the new tooth. This first appointment will likely proceed as follows:

  1. The dentist will administer anesthesia at the location of the dental implant.
  2. The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone.
  3. A special drill is used to create a hole in the jawbone for the metal implant.
  4. The implant is placed in the bone, and the gum tissue is stitched together or a cover screw is placed over the implant.

The healing process that follows is called osseointegration. Basically, the implant bonds to the bone, ensuring the durability of the dental implant. Osseointegration usually takes about three to six months.

The second visit occurs after osseointegration is complete. This procedure usually goes as follows:

  1. The implant is re-exposed and a post is attached.
  2. A crown is placed over the post and the procedure is complete.

In some cases, a temporary crown is placed on the post so that the gums can heal around the shape of a natural tooth while a permanent tooth or teeth are made. Once the gum tissue has healed, the permanent crown replaces the temporary one.

Alternate Procedures

While traditional dental implant procedures occur in two visits, some dentists and oral surgeons perform the entire process in one visit. With this approach, no time is taken for osseointegration. As a result, the patient cannot chew normally until the site of the dental implant has fully healed.

Mini Dental Implants

Before you decide to receive a full dental implant, consider a mini dental implant. Mini dental implants are used to replace incisors or other small teeth. Because these implants are not as big as other dental implants, they do not cost as much. Another advantage of mini dental implants is that if damage occurs to the implant, you will not need bone grafting to repair it.

Determining Good Candidates for Dental Implants

Most people with missing or broken teeth are good candidates for dental implants or mini dental implants. However, there are some limitations. Those who do not qualify for dental implants include individuals on immune-suppressing medication and children (you need all your adult teeth).

In addition, you need to have a solid bone structure for the implants to be successful. If the bone is weakened, implants can be applied after the bone is strengthened or re-grown through bone grafting.

Cost of Dental Implants

The cost of dental implants varies a great deal on a number of factors, including:

  • insurance
  • materials used in the process
  • location of implant
  • the dentist or oral surgeon you choose (Higher profile and more experienced dentists will charge more).

The average cost of one dental implant ranges from $500 to $6,000. If you require a full mouth of dental implants, you can expect to pay anywhere from $24,000 to $100,000. The cost of mini dental implants also varies widely, but they are not as expensive as full dental implants.

Usually, dental insurance does not cover the cost of dental implants since they are mostly cosmetic fixes, rather than medical necessities. However, if you are involved in an accident, some insurance providers will cover the cost of dental implants.

Resources

Dental Health Network (n.d.). Dental Implants — The Basic Procedure. Retrieved April, 14, 2008, from the Dental-Health Web site.

Dental-Implants.com (n.d.). Cost of Dental Implants. Retrieved April 12, 2008, from the Dental-Implants.com Web site.

Johnstone, Greg (n.d.) Dental Implants. Retrieved April 12, 2008, from the Your Dentistry Guide Web site.