Do you have missing teeth that stop you from smiling? Luckily, a buffet of options can fill the gaps between your teeth. Traditional dental implants are one of the most popular procedures as they are permanent and easy to maintain.
Unlike dentures, you cannot remove implants because your dentist screws them into your jawbone, which provides structure and strength for chewing pressures.
They also maintain your jawbone, which decreases your chance of bone loss and keeps your facial features intact. There are several types of dental implants which I will discuss in detail below.
What are the Different Types of Dental Implants?
Your Prosthodontist will choose different coatings, connectors, and sizes for each type of dental implant. There are several ways to install implants, but they mostly fall into two categories:
This is the most sought-after type of implant; You can use it in place of a removable denture or bridge; endosteal implants consist of threaded screws and smooth or bladed cylinders. Your dentist will drill into your jawbone and insert the titanium screw, which replaces the tooth’s root.
Next, you will need to wait a few months as the soft tissue and bone heal and fuse with the screw. Once healed, your dentist will attach the artificial tooth to your implant. Dentists prefer to use endosteal implants as they are sustainable and produce the most natural results.
Endosteal implants might not be for everyone, however. Your jawbone needs to be dense and in good health for these implants. If you have a worn-down bone too narrow, it might not provide enough support, and the implant will fail. If this is the case, then subperiosteal implants might be an option for you.
These implants are dated and not often used in modern dentistry. Instead, they are used in people with inadequate bone height to hold dentures in place.
Instead of penetrating deep into the jawbone, the dentist will insert the screw into the gum tissue above the bone with the metal rod protruding through the gums where the denture is attached. This procedure requires two appointments, and it is generally a shorter process compared to endosteal implants.
Subperiosteal implants are not sustainable because they don’t penetrate the jawbone but rest on top, and the soft tissue holds it in place. However, it still offers more support than traditional dentures.
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Different Variants of Dental Implants
If you are unsuitable for dental implants, you can choose from alternatives.
These variants include:
- Teeth in a Day
Teeth in a day appeal to people who want to walk out of their appointment with a complete and gorgeous set of teeth but don’t let the name fool you.
It will take two appointments to finalize the procedure, and you will leave your first appointment with temporary teeth. Once you have healed, your permanent ones will be attached.
These implants might be an option if you have lost several or all of your teeth because of gum disease or tooth decay. All-on-4 resemble traditional dentures with multiple teeth on an artificial gum. However, the procedure is entirely different.
The implants look like screws that your dentist will drill into the jawbone. Four implants strategically placed ensure they are strong enough to withstand the pressure from chewing.
Two implants are placed in the front of the mouth that match up vertically. Your dentist will place the other two implants in the molar area. They are drilled further into the bone as chewing will put more pressure on them.
- Mini implants
Mini implants are very similar to dental implants; they are just smaller versions. However, unlike their bigger counterparts, they do not require bone grafting, making treatment and healing time much shorter.
The screws are typically the size of toothpicks, and they are not attached with an abutment but instead have a little ball on end protruding from the gum. The artificial tooth is attached to this ball by elastic O-rings.
Minus implants can be an excellent option if you have sustained bone loss and don’t qualify for traditional implants.
The Cost of Dental Implants
These pearly whites won’t come cheap; Dental implants can cost anywhere from $3,000-$5000 per tooth; this price should include the implant, artificial tooth, and abutment.
You might consider having this procedure in the city if you live in a rural area. However, dental treatments seem more affordable in populated areas as there is more competition.
It is essential to know that dental implants are a surgical procedure and are not a quick fix. The entire process can take several months to a year, as much healing is involved.
Typically, it takes three appointments to fit them and the first is a consultation, then the placement of the implant, and lastly, the attachment of the permanent teeth.
Does Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Insurers consider dental implants a cosmetic procedure, so most will not cover it. However, it is always best to check first, as some plans might cover costs. An alternative option is to ask your dentist if they offer a payment plan.
You can pay off your implants in small installments each month. In addition, many people are unaware of discount dental plans to pay an annual membership fee (some starting as low as $99 a year), which provides you access to significant discounts for most dental procedures.
Risks Associated with Dental Implants
When it comes to surgery, there are always risks. Therefore, it is vital to find a reputable dentist to help you through the process, as there are many crucial factors you need to consider.
First, your dentist will need to make sure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Issues such as allergies, infections, bleeding disorders, and medication can affect surgery or healing. Although there are many steps involved, dental implants are generally successful.
The risks involved are as follows:
- Dental implant fracturing
- Overloading the dental implant
- Damage to the nerves, blood vessels, and teeth
- Poor positioning
- Fragile bone mass that can lead to implant failure
What to Expect Post-Surgery
You will be under local anesthetic during the procedure, so no pain is involved. However, once you wake up, you will experience pain and swelling. The sensation is similar to what you would feel after tooth extraction. Swelling will occur, and you can reduce it by placing an ice pack over the area immediately after your procedure.
You can buy over-the-counter pain medication like Advil or Tylenol to manage your discomfort. However, your dentist might prescribe more vital medication if your procedure is more invasive and require additional recovery time.
How Long will Dental Implants Take to Heal?
There is no set amount of time dental implants take to heal. Everyone is different, and their lifestyles can impact healing periods.
For example, smoking cigarettes can elongate the healing process. Hence, dentists recommend you stop smoking for at least two weeks while healing, especially if you have bone grafting.
You could feel back to normal in just seven days for simple implant surgeries that don’t require grafting. However, certain cases can take longer.
Your diet will need to change as well. You will need to stay on a soft diet for under two weeks, but sometimes this can be extended to six weeks. Your dentist will discuss your recovery plan with you in detail.
How Long Does the Pain Last?
Pain differs from person to person, so it’s hard to answer this question. Another factor to take into consideration is the type of surgery needed:
- Simple procedure
When you replace one tooth, have healthy bones, and do not require grafting, you should not experience too much pain or discomfort; if you do, it won’t last long.
- Moderate procedure
This is the most common surgery for dental implants and may cause swelling, discomfort, and sometimes bruising.
- Complex procedure
When having many implants placed or bone grafting, your recovery period will be significantly longer. You will also experience more pain and stick to a soft diet for around six weeks.
Dental implants are a fantastic solution if you have missing teeth and good bone density. The procedure is very successful, and you will have a flawless smile. However, the process can be costly, and not everyone is an ideal candidate.
There are different types of dental implants which include endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal is popular amongst dentists as they are more durable and the most natural-looking.
Don’t delay when losing a tooth, as the longer you have that gap, the more your bone deteriorates, which might make you unsuitable for this procedure.