What is a dental implant?

  • A dental implant replaces the natural tooth root and provides a stable foundation for a new crown. Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material used in orthopedic implants.

What are some of the advantages of dental implants?

  • Dental implants prevent the bone resorption, or deterioration, that results from the loss or removal of teeth.
  • Dental implant treatment does not involve the adjacent natural teeth, and therefore, the health of the teeth is not compromised, as it is with other tooth replacement options.
  • Dental implant treatment provides patients with a long-term solution for missing teeth, making this the most cost effective treatment option long-term.

How long do dental implants last?

  • Documented clinical research demonstrates long-term success rates of over 95%. This is a much higher success rate than other treatment options for replacing teeth. Research indicates that bridges need to be replaced every10 years.
  • Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. However, long-term success is impacted by regular maintenance and home care.

Do dental implants ever fail?

  • Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in health care, with a success rate of over 95%.  Occasionally, the bone does not fuse to the implants and the implants must be replaced. Clinical studies indicate that the success rates for the replacement implants are even higher than 95%.

Am I am a candidate for dental implant treatment?   

  • Nearly everyone who is in good health is a candidate for dental implant treatment. There are a few medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes that can lower the success rates. Smoking also lowers the success rate of dental implants. But there are very few conditions that would prevent you from having dental implant treatment.
  • The quality and quantity of your jawbone where implants would be placed is usually more of a factor than medical conditions in determining whether you are a candidate for dental implants. Fortunately, there are bone grafting procedures that make it possible for people to have implants even if they have lost a significant amount of bone.

How long does the treatment take?

  • If your situation is not complex, it will typically take anywhere from several weeks to few months to complete your treatment. Sometimes it is possible to have a dental implant placed immediately after a tooth is removed. If all of your teeth are missing or if you have lost a significant amount of bone, it can take up to six to nine months to complete treatment.

Is dental implant surgery painful?

  • Everyone has a different threshold for pain, but the majority of dental implant patients report being comfortable simply taking something as mild as Tylenol or Advil for any discomfort following implant surgery.  Many patients have indicated that the discomfort was so mild that it was barely noticeable.  More complicated surgical procedures might cause slightly more discomfort following surgery, but even then, stronger pain medication is rarely necessary.

How much do dental implants cost?

  • There are a number of factors that determine the cost of dental implant treatment, including the number of teeth being replaced, the type of replacement teeth, and any additional procedures that might be required in order to achieve the ideal functional and aesthetic results.
  • The fees for treatment are based on the amount of time it takes for the procedures involved in your case, the actual cost of the implants and other components, as well as the cost for the dental laboratory to fabricate the replacement teeth. The fee for dental implant treatment is usually comparable to other methods of tooth replacement.

Does insurance cover dental implants?

  • Coverage for dental implants is entirely dependent upon the individual plan and it is determined by the amount paid for the policy. It is important to note that there are limitations and restrictions written into most plans.
  • Dental benefits are designed to cover minimal basic care. Insurance companies use statistical data to establish their “usual and customary fee” schedule. All of the dental plants have an annual maximum, which is typically $1,000 to $1,500.
  • The number of plans covering dental implants has increased significantly over the past 5 to 10 years, although many plans still exclude dental implants as a covered benefit. Other plans will pay the amount that would be paid for the lowest cost alternative, such as a partial. Even when dental implants are covered, the benefit paid is still limited to the annual maximum of the individual plan.

Are dental implants covered by medical insurance?

  • Medical insurance will sometimes cover dental implants for people who have serious medical conditions as a result of complete tooth loss. There are also plans that provide benefits for bone grafting procedures. Other than these situations, medical coverage for dental implants is rare.
  • Medicare does not cover dental implants. Accidents and work-related injuries are often covered by insurance. However, most patients should assume that medical insurance will not cover their dental implant treatment.