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Think You Need Implants? Here Is Your Dental Implant Procedure Guide!

Do you have a missing tooth or perhaps missing many teeth? If so, it is likely you have heard about dental implants. If not, or if you are curious about this innovative procedure as a replacement for missing teeth, we will go through everything in this dental implant guide that you need to know to make an informed decision if this surgical solution to replacing missing teeth is right for you or a loved one.


What Are Dental Implants?

Many confuse dental implants with other types of replacement options for teeth. It’s important to know that dental implants aren’t dentures or bridges. They are surgically implanted posts, typically made from titanium, that support an artificial tooth or dental fixture. For those that need a whole arch replaced, the All-on-Four or All-on-Six procedure is perfect. Your dentist will create a denture that will attach to four implants that create a more natural-looking smile. Dental implants are considered a permanent solution to missing teeth. Unlike dentures that will need to be replaced after ten years, implants can last upwards of 20 years, when cared for properly.

Dental implants are broken down into three parts the implant, the abutment, and the restoration. The implant, as mentioned above is a small titanium post that is surgically installed directly into the jawbone. Once placed, the implant will fuse with the bone, which allows it to support the weight of the restoration. The abutment is attached to the implant and is what will hold the prosthetic tooth. In a single dental implant, the abutment will typically connect to a custom made crown for the most natural-looking effect. The restoration is the portion of the dental implant that everyone, including yourself, will see. Depending on how many dental implants you have placed, how many teeth are missing, and what outcome you’re hoping to achieve, your dentist can use dental crowns, bridges, partial dentures, or full dentures.


Advantages of getting dental implants include:

  • More secure replacement versus dentures
  • Considered a permanent solution
  • Look and feel more natural
  • Caring for the implants is easy
  • No messy adhesives


Types of Dental Implants

There are two types of dental implants and are designated as such by their placement. Implants can be placed directly into the jawbone, preferred method, or on top of the bone, just under the gumline. Endosteal implants, those that are placed directly into the jawbone, are the most commonly used and most preferred by dentists. If your jawbone doesn’t have enough bone tissue to support an implant, your dentist may recommend a bone augmentation or a Subperiosteal implant that is placed on top of the jawbone. These are far less common and can move out of position. Options for restoring the jawbone and line include:

Bone Augmentation – Achieves the best results for restoring the jaw bone to support dental implants.

Sinus Lift – In cases where bone loss has occurred due to missing an upper back tooth or teeth. A sinus lift adds bone below the sinus to give a natural look to your smile.

Ridge Expansion – For some patients, their jaw is not wide enough to support dental implants. In these cases, your dentist can add a ridge to the bone allowing for more space to fit dental implants.


Types of Dental Implant Techniques

Implants are very versatile for replacing missing teeth. Every patient is different, and what they need or desired results may vary. Implants can replace a single tooth or all of the teeth. Depending on the situation you may need one, two, four or six implants to achieve the desired effect. Below are just a few options that may be available with dental implants.

Same-Day Implants or Teeth In A Day®?- With same-day implants or also called immediate load implants to give you instant results of having a replacement tooth added the same day. When you leave the dentist’s office, you will have the appearance of a full smile. This type of technique is ideal for those with a healthier jawbone that can support the weight of the implant and crown.

Mini Denture Implants- Unlike the other types of implants, mini dentures are the size of a toothpick. These are also less invasive to place than regular dental implants and can be used to keep stable a lower denture.

The All-On-Four Dental Implants- For those that need a full arch replaced, whether it be a top or bottom set, the All-On-Four implants are perfect. Instead of having individual implants per tooth required. There are only four implants installed, and a special denture is used to attach to the implants. This is also a more affordable way to achieve a full smile when missing all the teeth on the top or bottom of the jaw. A temporary set of teeth can be given the same day you have the implants installed, much like the same-day implants, to give the appearance of a fuller smile, while you wait for the permanent dentures to be made. It will take six months, roughly, to receive the permanent set. During this time the bone will heal, and the dental implant will fully integrate into the jawbone for a sturdier foundation for the dental fixture.


How Long Does The Procedure Take?

The length of the procedure depends on how many dental implants you will need to be placed. On average it will take between one to two hours to place a single implant. This includes the time when you arrive for the surgical procedure to waking up from the anesthesia. If there are any complications with placing the implant into the jaw, or if bone grafting is necessary the procedure can take longer. Once the implant procedure is finished, patients can expect a healing time of three to six months. The healing process is critical. Allowing enough time for the bone and implant to fuse will result in a less likely chance of implant failure.


What is the Cost, On Average, For Dental Implants?

The cost of dental implants will vary based on who and where you have them done as well as how many or what type of dental implants you will be getting. It is important to note that dental implants are a surgical procedure, and there many other factors that go into calculating the cost, not just the price of the implant post, abutment, and restoration. But to give you some idea of what to expect as far as cost, the average cost per tooth for dental implants with crown ranges from $3,000 to 5,000 dollars. This includes the surgery to install the implant, the abutment, and the restoration crown. While this seems rather costly for a single tooth replacement, there is no better solution to restore appearance and function from a missing tooth. When you factor in that the restorative properties from a dental implant will last twice as long as other methods of restoration, not having to replace a denture or bridge could balance out and be about the same cost in the long-run.

The reason that there is a higher cost for dental implants versus other methods of restoration is a better overall appearance as well as equipment and time needed for installation. For a single implant with a crown, your dentist will shape the dental crown to match your other teeth. In most cases, no one will be able to tell that it is an artificial tooth.


“I’ve seen larger estimates for implants, why are these teeth implants so expensive?”

If you have been looking around on the internet to get an idea of dental implants and their cost you may have been shocked to see a figure as high as $35,000! It is important to realize, that while the term dental implant is what the procedure is called, it isn’t the only portion of the treatment. Yes, the dental implant surgery can be slightly expensive, but the cost of the restoration that is affixed also comes at a cost. Your dentist will spend time shaping the artificial tooth to match your smile and other existing teeth if applicable, or they will have to craft a personalized full arch for a top or bottom replacements. This takes time, skill, and some creativity to make the artificial replacements look as natural as possible. The reason you may see figures upwards of $20,000 are typically for All-On-Four dental implants or options that involve more than one implant to replace multiple teeth.


Dental Implant Success Rate

The good news for those thinking of having a dental implant procedure is the success rate is very high, with dental implant failure being incredibly low. Many factors go into the success of the implant, including how well your dentists place the implant, your jaw bone quality, and if you follow the direction from your dentist for aftercare. On average, dental implants have a 98% success rate, making them a reliable option for replacing missing teeth.

“With the success rate of dental implants being this high, it has become one of the safest options for restoring missing teeth.”, says Dr. Russell at Bremerton Dental.


Are there any negative effects of dental implants?

With any surgical procedure, there can be adverse side effects. But with dental implants, most dentists agree that dental implants are safe. However, it is good to know the possible side effects that can occur. For instance, implants can be placed incorrectly or not integrate with the jawbone. If there is not enough tissue to support the implant, it could the implant to be pushed out or shift. There is a slight possibility of infection, just as there is with any surgery, but there is a minimal risk. If you follow your dentist’s instruction on how to care for your new implants you can significantly reduce the chances of the happening.