Dental Implants 101
Why does the space left from a missing tooth need to be filled?
When a tooth is lost and a space is left in the arch, the bone surrounding the space begins to shrink down. The tooth in the opposing arch begins to come up or down, depending on their location, and fall too far into the space because there is no tooth there to oppose it. This misplacement of teeth can lead to grinding and clenching of the jaw. The video below provides a great visual for what happens when we leave space in the arch.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial structure that acts as a tooth root. The implant is surgically placed into the jaw and holds a replacement tooth when fully restored. Titanium is the material of choice for most implant manufacturing companies due to it’s non-toxic and non-allergenic qualities. The implant itself will fuse with the jawbone to provide enough strength for the replacement tooth. The implant needs to be able to operate as a natural tooth – with full power in chewing and shredding your food, depending on its placement in the mouth.
Who is a candidate for implants?
An implant can be a great solution to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. Several important factors to consider include:
- Do you have healthy gums? Is there active periodontal disease?
- Do you have sufficient bone height to retain the implant fully in the jawbone?
- Are you committed to brushing the implanted tooth daily and maintaining good health in the surrouding gum tissue?
- Are you healthy overall?
Health and maintenance of the implant are key factors in the successful retention of the implant. If you are unable to maintain the implant, it is possible it will fail.
What happens after the implant is placed?
At Lakeview Dental Arts, we have partnered with Oral Surgeons in the area who place the implant. The patient will then come back to our office for restoration of the implant after the surgeon has cleared them. Typically, a patient will have a healing time anywhere from three to six months after implant placement. During this time, the oral surgeon will see the patient for several follow up visits to ensure the implant is integrating into the bone and the surrounding gum tissue is staying healthy.
Next, the surgeon will then clear the patient to return to the general dentist’s office for restoration. The general dentist will take impressions to fabricate the permanent tooth that will screw into the implant and the patient will return a couple weeks later for final seating of the new artificial tooth!
How much do implants cost?
The cost of an implant depends greatly on the insurance coverage and the fees associated with placement. The Oral Surgeon’s office will determine the fees for the implant placement. Although insurance companies in the past have largely not covered this procedure, in more recent years a larger percentage of policies are providing coverage for implant placement. Many insurance companies are providing coverage for the artificial tooth that rests on the implant, even if they don’t cover the implant placement. This benefit usually falls under the “major” category on the coverage details. Whether you are looking to use insurance coverage or are self pay, it is always a good idea to round up cost information from both the placing surgeon and the restoring dentist prior to moving forward with treatment. In general, the placement can range from $2,000-$3,000 and the restoration can range from $1,500-3,000 before insurance.
So what’s next?
If you would like to see if you are a candidate for an implant or simply have more questions about the procedure, please call us today at 773-270-5000. To schedule your consultation, click the button below and schedule online with us!