If you’re like one of the 120 million people in the U.S. who are missing one or more teeth, chances are good you have considered dental implants to repair the gap in your smile. Knowing more about dental implants – including how to find an affordable dental implant dentist – can help make that decision easier.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a type of dental restoration that uses titanium posts and screws to attach one or more dental crowns as replacement teeth.
These implants look like natural teeth and provide a sense of security that a full set of dentures can’t. Since the dental implants are attached to your jaw, they move just as real teeth would. (Which is to say – not at all!)
What are the different types of dental implants?
There are a few different types of implants. The one you choose depends largely on how many teeth need to be replaced. It also depends where in the mouth they are located.
The major types of dental implants include:
- Mini dental implants
- All-on-4 implants
- Full mouth implants
Mini dental implants
Mini dental implants have the same basic structure as other implants but are slightly smaller and generally used for one tooth at a time. This type of implant is also an option for patients who have lost bone density in the jaw and cannot quite support a larger implant. Mini dental implants can also be used to secure loose and lower arch dentures.
Additionally, mini dental implants take less time to apply, with most patients able to receive them in just one visit. Because mini dental implants are one of the least-invasive types of implant, most patients find they can eat comfortably on the first day.
Full mouth dental implants
Full mouth dental implants are exactly what they sound like. For patients who have lost all of their teeth and have potentially suffered some bone loss, full mouth implants are typically the best option.
Dentures can loosen and don’t provide any therapeutic function. Full mouth implants are affixed directly to the bone and provide an important benefit. When patients eat, chew, and talk, the bones of the jaw are stimulated by the implant post, strengthening the underlying bone.
All-on-4 dental implants use just four implants in both the upper and lower jaw to attach a complete set of teeth.
The implants are strategically placed at points in the mouth to offer the most stability. All-on-4 dental implants differ from full mouth dental implants in that they can, in some cases, be installed in just one visit.
What should I expect during the dental implant procedure?
The procedure for dental implants is straightforward. Your dentist will evaluate your overall oral health to make sure you have enough healthy bone in your jaw to accept an implant.
Your dentist will then install the implants, which look like screws that fit into a cylinder. For full mouth implants, a period of healing is necessary to allow the bone to bond to the implant. Patients are provided with a temporary set of teeth to wear while the bone heals.
The second step of the procedure is to remove the gum that has healed over the implant. One-stage implants (like the all-on-4 implant) do not need to this second step. The gum is given time to heal before the next step.
A full or partial set of teeth are created. At AZ Dentist, we work with master ceramicists to perfectly match the shape and shade of your current teeth. Depending on the type of implant, they may be snapped into place or tightened down. The fit and your new bite is checked, and you are ready to go.
What’s the cost of dental implants?
The more teeth that are replaced, in general, the lower the price per tooth. This price can vary depending on geographic location, the dentist you select, and the overall amount of work.
Affordable dental implants are not impossible to find. There are ways to drive the cost of this dental restoration down, starting with an experienced, affordable dental implant dentist. At AZ Dentist, we work closely with all our patients to find the most affordable options for them. If you’re not in Arizona, take the time to select an affordable dentist by asking family and friends for referrals, or using the American Dental Association’s dentist locator tool.
Once you find your dental implants dentist, the next step is taking the time to figure out which type of dental implant is best for you.
The price of implants is an up-front expense that may seem expensive. In the long run, however, implants have lower maintenance costs and last longer than dentures or other tooth replacements. Still, if the price is disheartening, you may be able to save on costs with the following strategies.
Check with your insurance
Some insurance companies will cover implants when the tooth loss is related to another condition, or if the missing teeth will substantially affect the overall health of the patient. In this case, your dental implant dentist can work closely with your primary care physician to file a claim for coverage.
Mix-and-match when appropriate
Carefully considering which type of dental implant you need and discussing all available options with your dentist is the best way to get the most for your money. They may suggest only doing partial implants or an all-on-4 instead of full mouth implants.
Is it time for you to learn more about implants? Arizona residents can find affordable dental implants in the Phoenix area with AZ Dentist. Get in touch today to schedule your consultation!