By Dr. Marina Shurova, D.D.S.
How often have you seen those inviting advertisements announcing implants for $1000-$1500? You may not be getting the whole story and here is why.
It’s not a secret that anyone with missing teeth understands how embarrassing or uncomfortable it can be smiling or eating in public. Quality of daily life and self-confidence are at risk, which is devastating and can make you feel socially isolated.
Fortunately, current dental technology and implants can transform your life by restoring appearance, speech, comfort, ability to chew properly, and self-esteem.
When a tooth is lost, the jawbone in the area shrinks affecting your smile, changing the shape of your face causing you to look prematurely aged (pic 1).
Pic 1: Bone loss depicted by solid line. Dotted line depicts original bone location
Continuous bone loss (pic 1) is why dental implants are considered a new standard of care for tooth replacement. Implants bond (osseointegrate) with jawbone and provide support for the REQUIRED dentures, crowns, bridges or all-on-4 that ARE part of the implant process that may not be included in the advertised cost!
In addition, preparatory work such as extractions, reshaping bone (bone grafting/sinus lift), treating infections and gum therapy are necessary BEFORE an implant can be placed. Keep in mind that these procedures as well as the required CBCT scan and fabrication of a surgical guide are ADDITIONAL cost to you! As you can see $1000 implant advertisements are NOT entirely accurate and most likely include ONLY one phase of the treatment process!! So what are the phases? What should you expect?
What does it take to get a dental implant?
The entire process might take 3 to 6 months depending on individual jaw anatomy and amount of jawbone present.
Phase 1 DIAGNOSIS
A thorough exam and evaluation by a trained dental professional are necessary to determine if a patient is a candidate for a dental implant.
Dental implants can be placed in most adults. Teenagers might have to wait until their facial structure matures. Certain medical conditions may affect healing and decrease treatment success. As you can see getting an implant is not guaranteed and costs money to determine candidacy.
Pic 2a: Rotted/ decayed tooth
Pic 2b: CBCT scan to evaluate the anatomy of the jaw
Phase 2 SURGICAL placement of implant (pic 3)
Once the patient’s candidacy is confirmed, several steps might be necessary before implant placement is even possible. The existing decayed, fractured or abscessed teeth might need to be extracted and a bone graft placed into the site or a sinus lift procedure performed. Only then can the implant be placed.
Pic 3 (left to right): rotted (decayed) tooth, tooth extraction & bone graft, implant placement, implant healing abutment
Phase 3 RESTORATIVE
After your implants are properly healed (3-6 months), it is time to attach naturally looking implant restorations (crowns, bridges, over-dentures, all-on-4, etc).
Pic 4: Implants showing through the gum after healing for 3-6 months
Restorative parts called abutments made in a dental lab and attached to the implants
Dental implant crowns cemented on abutments
As you can see, the process has many phases that may not be included in some advertisement fees. In general the implant process is time-consuming, involves expensive dental resources/materials and lab fees. Based on all of these factors a single unit implant can cost an average of $2500-$6000 depending on location and specialty of a clinic. If multiple teeth are missing, the price goes up accordingly.
Are there alternatives to dental implants? Absolutely. Dentures, crowns and bridges address the cosmetic problem of missing teeth as a more economic option.
We hope this brief review of implant treatment has been helpful. Contact MyDental (813-908-3636) for an evaluation so we can select a treatment plan that fits your needs and budget!
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