Dental implants are permanent fixtures that a dentist will attach to your gums and jawbone in order to replace missing or damaged teeth. This can provide a permanent solution to many dental health issues for senior patients, making it a popular procedure despite the invasive nature and cost. In short, dental implants can make you feel much younger and improve your life in countless ways.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants involve drilling into the gums and jaws in order to create pegs. These pegs then allow new false teeth to be screwed into place, where they will remain permanently. As the patient, you will be able to choose precisely how you want your new smile to look, and that will extend to selecting the color of your implants.
The cost of dental implants can vary significantly though, and this is something to consider when discussing options with your dentist. Not only that, but the procedure itself can vary significantly depending on the nature of the issue you are trying to address.
In many cases, dental implants will not be used on their own, but rather in conjunction with other procedures. For instance, if you have teeth missing, then you might use a combination of dental implants and bridges in order to solve the problem. This can help to control the cost, as well as the invasiveness of the procedure. If you use bridges for instance, then you will need fewer dental implants.
Likewise, the type of dental implant varies. For instance, some implants are made from zirconium, while others are made from titanium.
Generally, the cost of a single dental implant can range from $500 to $6,000! This includes the abutment (the peg) as well as the cost, along with the procedure itself and after care1. This price can vary a lot then, but keep in mind that you will usually visit the dentist multiple times throughout the process.
For a full mouth of new implants, you can end up paying anything from $30,000 to $90,000!
How Dental Implants Are Used in Conjunction With Other Techniques to Solve Various Problems
In order to understand the huge range of prices and the different types of procedure, it can be useful to consider how a dentist might help you to approach various different problems with your teeth. Here are some examples that show how dental implants can be used in conjunction with different methods.
You Have Missing Teeth: If you have one or lots of missing teeth then you are probably experiencing one of the very most common complaints for people who aren’t happy with their smiles. A simple missing tooth can be very disconcerting and is far from being a desirable look. It also creates other issues, allowing other teeth to move and making it difficult to chew. Fortunately, there are many different solutions to this problem.
The obvious option is the dental implant, which as we’ve seen can cost anything up to $6,000 including anesthesia, consultations, materials, and more.
Another is to get bridges. Bridges like dental implants provide you with an entirely new tooth in the place of the gap, but are different in that they are far less invasive. Rather than being screwed into the gums and jaws like dental implants, bridges are simply placed between two existing teeth. Of course, this means that you are requires to have the two teeth on either side for you to be able to support the bridge, and it also won’t be as secure as implants. However, they will still be permanent and will require no real discomfort on your part. Here it’s possible to have a combination of these two procedures – using bridges where you have some existing teeth to support the new ones and using dental implants in the rest of your mouth. As bridges are less expensive than implants (and less invasive), you may wish to have a few implants to use as anchors, with bridges placed elsewhere.
Of course, you can even use the implants in order to support the bridges.
Finally, if permanency is not a problem for you, then you could also look into getting removable dentures. Removable dentures are simply false teeth that you can take out or put in at will, but that which must be removed overnight. This of course requires no painful surgery and also means that you can have them altered easily as your mouth changes shape and you lose more teeth. Of course it has some problems regarding how you feel about the need for your teeth to be truly your own, and whether you want to look good all night long (it can be a turn off to bring someone home and then have to remove your teeth). Removable dentures also are more prone to getting lost or damaged and must be removed when consuming some foods and drinks.
Again, some people will opt for a combination of dentures and implants. This can provide more support for the mouth (avoiding the wrinkled look that a lack of teeth can create) and make chewing and eating easier – while also saving money. You can also use a combination of dentures and implants as a stopgap (no pun intended) while you wait for the next round of implants.
Your Teeth Are Crooked: If your teeth are crooked then this could very often be a result of overcrowding or undercrowding. This means that you have too many teeth in your mouth and they are as such being pushed by each other into unfavorable positions. If you previously had perfectly straight teeth, then there is a good chance that your teeth were forced to become crooked when your wisdom teeth came through. The best thing to do in this scenario then is to get cosmetic dental surgery in order to remove the teeth that are causing the most difficulty.
There are other reasons that your teeth may be crooked however. For example, it may in fact be that your teeth have too many gaps, and as such your teeth have nothing to support them and to cause them to grow in a straight line. This can particularly be a problem as the teeth are developing. Sometimes it will be possible to straighten crooked teeth then by placing new teeth in next to them to force them into alignment with dental implants for example, however this won’t always be possible or affective. This is where an implant can be useful once again.
Another solution to having crooked teeth is to get veneers. Veneers are essentially recreated fronts of your teeth which attach to your teeth on the side facing outwards using a permanent cement. Once these veneers are attached, they will remain in the mouth and will hide your real teeth while showing these new specially designed fronts. This can be used to change many elements of your teeth, not least including their straightness – as the veneers fit perfectly together so it will seem that your teeth fit perfectly together.
Another solution which many of us will think about early on is to get braces. Braces will essentially hold your teeth in position, and this will gradually force them to move until they are straighter. This is a lengthy process and has some impracticalities while you wait for it to work in that it prevents you from eating certain things and can make your smile look worse while you wait to be able to take the braces out. However, it is also a very permanent way to realign your teeth that will not only avoid any painful and invasive procedure, but also avoid you having to have something in your mouth that isn’t genuinely a part of you. In this sense braces are a very ‘natural’ way to get your teeth straightened. For those who don’t want to have to put up with tracks and avoid certain foods however it is also possible to use other methods such as ‘Invisalign’ which is a plastic cover that holds your teeth in place. This is removable meaning you can take it out for posh occasions and when eating, but it’s also transparent meaning that it’s less noticeable when you’re wearing it. The downside of Invisalign when compared to braces is that it is slightly less efficient as the teeth have to fit into the round indentations of the cover rather than being held in place by tracks, and because the person wearing them can simply remove them. However, at the same time they also have their own advantages – for example allowing the wearer to ‘upgrade’ their Invisalign as the condition of their teeth improves. For example then, as the teeth become more aligned they can have a newly reshaped cover that is more fitting of their new position. This way it can more quickly improve the look of your teeth.
Finally, another solution to the problem of crooked teeth is often to file them down. Here the teeth are re-sculpted in order to make them look straighter. This can also solve problems where one tooth blocks another causing plaque and sugar to get stuck where it can cause damage to the tooth behind.
By combining these techniques it’s also possible to make an even more impressively straight look for your teeth – for example by removing teeth and filing them down before using a combination of implants and veneers to cap the fronts. Alternatively, a dentist may recommend that you use Invisalign to straighten your teeth, while also inserting new implants once that process is over to keep the teeth in their new positions.
As you can see then, the cost of dental implants is not simple to calculate and will vary greatly from case to case. Think about what you need, and be open to all options!