What are Dental Implants?

Implant dentistry has altered the way in which lost teeth are treated. If you currently wear partial or full dentures, or simply need to replace one or several missing teeth, dental implants are able to offer replacements for your missing teeth that feel, look and function naturally, much like your original teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are actually just small titanium screws that get placed via surgery into the jawbone in the place (or places) where there are teeth missing below the gum-line. After they are placed, a dentist is able to mount a replacement tooth (or teeth). The new tooth, known as a crown, will feel and look natural, and function much like your real teeth.

The Way Dental Implants Work

Since implants are fused to the jawbone, they are able to offer stabilized support for any artificial teeth. Since dentures and/or bridges are mounted to the implants, they will not shift or slip inside the mouth - which is especially beneficial for speaking and eating. The fit is secure and is what allows bridges and dentures (and crowns placed over the implants) to feel and function more naturally that conventional dentures and bridges.

Who is Able to Get Dental Implants?

In some cases typical dentures and bridges are not comfortable for people, and in some cases it is not even possible to for bridges or dentures to be used for treatment because of poor ridges, sore spots, and/or gagging reflexes. Most bridges have to be connected to a person’s teeth on both sides of the space made by a missing tooth. But in the case of implants no adjacent teeth have to be adjusted for the implant to function.

For implants healthy gums are essential, and you need to have sufficient bone for support of the implant and/or you need to be able to consider bone grafting. For implants you also need to have great habits when it comes to oral hygiene, as well as be comfortable with regular visits to the dentist to maintain health and proper long-term functionality of the dental implants.

Costs of Dental Implants

Because dental implants are typically placed by periodontists or oral surgeons, implants are generally more costly than other kinds of tooth replacement. And currently most insurance companies will cover only 10% or less of the total cost. Costs vary significantly, but the AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry) suggests that costs will range anywhere from $3,000-$4,500 for each implant.

Dental Implant Types

The AAID has recommended two different kinds of implants as safe:

  • Endosteal Implants: The most common practice is for implants to be directly implanted (surgically) into a person’s jawbone. After the nearby gum tissue has healed, another surgery takes place to anchor the post to the original implant. And finally, the artificial teeth (or tooth) get attached to the post either grouped on a denture or bridge, or individually if it is a single tooth.
  • Subperiosteal Implants: Subperiosteal Implants are used when there is not enough healthy bone in the available. In this case a metal frame gets fitted below the gum tissue on to the jawbone. Posts, which have been attached to the metal frame, stick out through the gums, and just as with the endosteal implants, the artificial replacement teeth get mounted onto the posts.

Because missing teeth can make people feel self-conscious when they are talking, smiling, or eating, as well as create additional oral health issues, dental implants can be a perfect solution for improving confidence as well as overall dental health.

What is the Dental Implant Procedure?