Are Dental Implants affordable and does insurance cover the procedure?
Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing or damaged teeth. The procedure is a permanent dental solution that gives patients the look and feel of natural teeth, providing them with a functional and aesthetically pleasing smile. In this blog post, we will discuss what dental implants are, when they are generally recommended, the procedure involved, and how to find the right dentist to perform the procedure. We’ll also outline who they are not for, the situations when other options are better, payment methods, and how dental insurance covers dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone. They are made of titanium. This material is compatible with the human body and does not cause allergic reactions. Once the titanium implants are in place, a connector (referred to as an abutment) is attached to the implanted portion. A crown, or artificial tooth, is then attached to the abutment. This series completes the implant procedure.
When Are Dental Implants Recommended?
Dental implants are generally recommended for patients who have one or more missing or damaged teeth. They are also recommended for patients who have an inadequate amount of jawbone to support dentures or bridges. Patients must have healthy gums and adequate bone density to support the implant though. In some cases, periodontal work is required before the implant stage to ensure that there is enough bone to support the procedure, and that the bone is strong enough to hold the implant in place.
The Procedure for Dental Implants
The dental implant procedure is typically done in several stages, and the entire process can take several months to complete. Part of the reason for the extended time duration is that it gives the patient some recovery time before completing the procedure.
Initial Consultation: During the initial consultation, the dentist will examine the patient’s teeth and gums, take x-rays and impressions of the mouth, and discuss the patient’s medical history. The dentist will also explain the total procedure and what to expect as it unfolds.
Implant Placement: During the first surgical procedure, the dentist will place the titanium implant into the jawbone. The patient will be under local anesthesia, and the process can take one to two hours.
Healing Period: After the implant is placed, the patient will need to wait several months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone. During this healing period, the patient may be given a temporary crown or bridge if required.
Abutment Placement: Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, the patient will return to the dentist to have the abutment put in place. This is a minor surgical procedure that involves opening the gum tissue to attach the abutment to the implant.
Crown Placement: After the abutment is placed, the dentist will take impressions of the patient’s teeth to create a custom crown. Once the crown is ready, it will be attached to the abutment, completing the dental implant procedure.
How to Find the Right Dentist to Perform the Procedure
Finding the right dentist to perform a dental implant procedure is crucial to your success. Here are some tips for finding your implant dentist:
- Look for a dentist with experience: Choose a dentist who has performed many dental implant procedures and has a track record of success. Ask if you can see photographic results of other client’s successful implants.
- Check credentials: Look for a dentist who continually upgrades his or her skills. If your dentist is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD) they have completed enough extensive training to be recognized among the best of the best in the field.
- Read reviews: Read dental office online reviews from previous patients to get an idea of the dentist’s bedside manner and patient satisfaction levels.
- Ask for referrals: Ask friends or family members who have had dental implants for dentist recommendations in your area.
Not all patients are good candidates for dental implants though. Here are some examples of patients who may not be ideal candidates for dental implants:
- Patients with certain health conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disorders that can affect the healing process.
- Patients who smoke or use tobacco, as these habits can impair the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.
- Patients who have insufficient jawbone density or volume, which is necessary to support the implants. In these cases, bone grafting or other procedures may be necessary before implant placement.
- Children and young adults whose jaws are still developing. Implants are generally not recommended until after the jaw is fully developed, which typically occurs in the late teens or early twenties.
Other options for replacing missing teeth include:
Although implants are the most popular option for missing teeth, there are other options available.
Dentures: Dentures are removable dental appliances that can replace multiple missing teeth. They come in various types, including partial dentures, complete dentures, and implant-supported dentures.
Dental Bridges: Dental bridges are a fixed dental appliance that uses neighboring teeth to support the replacement tooth or teeth. Bridges can be made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, or metal.
Removable Partial Dentures: Removable partial dentures are like traditional dentures but are designed to replace one or more missing teeth. They are removable and can be easily cleaned.
Payment Methods for Dental Implants
The cost of dental implants can vary depending on various factors, including the number of implants needed, the location of the missing teeth, and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, dental implants are more expensive than other tooth replacement options, but they also offer greater longevity and durability.
Many dental offices offer payment plans or financing options to help make dental implant treatment more affordable. These payment plans typically involve making monthly payments over a period, usually 6-24 months, with little or no interest. Markic Dental offers this option to their implant patients.
Dental Insurance Coverage for Dental Implants
Dental insurance coverage for dental implants varies widely, and not all insurance plans cover the cost of dental implants. Some plans may cover a portion of the cost of the implant, while others may not cover any of the cost.
If you have dental insurance, it is important to check with your insurance provider to see if dental implants are covered and to what extent. As mentioned, some insurance plans may cover only certain aspects of the implant procedure, such as the surgical placement of the implant or the finishing restoration of the implant with a dental crown or bridge, but not both.
In some cases, dental insurance plans may require a waiting period before they cover the cost of dental implants. It is important to understand your insurance coverage and to work with your dental office to determine the best payment options for you.