When one or more of your natural teeth is lost, your appearance isn’t the only thing that suffers. Your oral health also begins to decline as your jawbone loses the support that the roots of your teeth provide. Dentures and dental bridges only recreate the way your smile looks; they do nothing to prevent the oral health concerns associated with tooth loss. The only option that does so is dental implants.
Because they replace the roots of the teeth, dental implants last longer, feel more natural, and are much better for your health than traditional tooth replacements. Better yet, our team at Derby Dental can handle the entire treatment process in-house. To learn more about this lifelike, long-term tooth replacement, call us today and schedule your consultation to discuss tooth replacement with dental implants in Austin, TX!
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a screw-shaped titanium cylinder that we surgically insert into the jawbone to take the place of a missing tooth’s root structure. However, many people use the term “dental implants” to also refer to the abutment and the restoration. The abutment sits atop the implant post and holds the restoration (dental crown, bridge, or denture) securely into place.
Because titanium is biocompatible, the dental implant post integrates with your jawbone to form a sturdy, lasting solution that traditional options cannot provide. In short, dental implants are capable of looking, feeling, and functioning just like your natural teeth!
The 4-Step Dental Implant Process
Oftentimes, general dentists must refer their patients to separate specialists for the surgical placement of dental implants, but not here at Derby Dental. We can handle this procedure ourselves, making your treatment much more convenient (not to mention affordable!).
The dental implant process is lengthier and more complex than that of conventional bridges and dentures, but your new teeth will be worth the wait. Generally speaking, the four basic steps are:
- Initial dental implant consultation – You’ll meet with Dr. Whitehouse or Dr. Kilkelly to find out whether you’re eligible for dental implants.
- Dental implant surgery – We surgically place the implants in your jawbone at predetermined positions.
- Dental implant osseointegration/abutment – Over several months, the implants merge with your jawbone. Then, we install an abutment on top of the implants.
- Delivery of dental implant restoration(s) – Your customized dental crown, bridge, or denture is secured onto your abutment.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants aren’t your only option for rebuilding your smile, but they do offer various unique advantages over traditional bridges and dentures. This is thanks to the fact that they can mimic the roots of your natural teeth, allowing them to provide several important benefits that other tooth replacement options can’t.
You’ll use your dental implants every day to eat, speak, and smile. As such, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits regularly:
- No Diet Restrictions: With traditional dentures, you may have a difficult time enjoying certain foods, such as tough meats that require a lot of chewing. In contrast, dental implants are strong and stable enough to let you eat virtually anything you want.
- Natural Appearance: Most people can’t tell the difference between a restored dental implant and a natural tooth. This is thanks to the fact that implant restorations are made out of lifelike materials that can blend in with the rest of your smile.
- The Ability to Speak Clearly: Traditional dentures can slip when you’re trying to speak, causing you to mumble some of your words. Dental implants keep your new teeth in place so that you can always speak clearly and confidently.
- Easy Maintenance: You don’t need to change your oral hygiene routine to take care of your dental implants; you can just brush and floss the way you normally would.
In addition to improving your everyday life, dental implants have a number of health advantages:
- Preventing Bone Loss: Your jawbone needs stimulation from your teeth to remain healthy and strong. Since dental implants can mimic your natural tooth roots, they are currently the only kind of tooth replacement that can give your jawbone this kind of stimulation. In other words, dental implants are your best choice for preventing jawbone deterioration after tooth loss.
- Better Nutrition: Traditional dentures can make it more difficult to maintain a nutritious diet. Getting dental implants instead will allow you to enjoy a wider variety of foods to keep your entire body healthy.
- Preventing Dental Drift: Teeth tend to shift toward any empty space in your mouth. Dental implants fill in the gaps in your smile, which helps ensure that your remaining teeth stay in their proper positions.
Dental implants don’t just improve your quality of life in the present. They also have several benefits that you’ll only be able to fully appreciate as the years go by:
- High Success Rate: Dental implants are considered extremely reliable. Around 95% of dental implants remain successful even a decade after their initial placement.
- More Youthful Appearance: Because dental implants prevent bone loss in your jaw, they can help you avoid facial collapse that makes you look older.
- Longer Lifespan: While dentures and bridges typically need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years, dental implants that have been properly cared for can last entire lifetimes.
Who Dental Implants Can Help
No matter how many teeth you’re missing, there’s a way that we can complete your smile with dental implants. During your consultation, we’ll examine your mouth and review your medical history to ensure you’re healthy enough for the treatment. Once we’ve confirmed that you are (and you’ve undergone any necessary preliminary procedures), we can devise a plan based on the number of teeth you need to replace.
Missing One Tooth
To fill a single-tooth gap, we vertically position a dental implant in the socket. Once it has integrated with the jaw, we place a lifelike dental crown on top. This solution is more conservative than a dental bridge, as it doesn’t rely on your remaining teeth for support.
Missing Multiple Teeth
Two dental implants can bring back multiple teeth in a row by anchoring a dental bridge into place. Because this prosthetic is supported by implants, you won’t have to sacrifice enamel from your natural teeth. An implant-supported partial denture can also restore several teeth in various locations along an arch.
Missing All Teeth
An entire arch of missing teeth can be restored at the same time by attaching a full denture onto just four to eight implants. Implant dentures can be either removable or permanently fixed in place, and they don’t slip around or cause gum irritation like regular dentures notoriously do.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
Although the cost of dental implants may seem intimidating at first, keep in mind that your treatment is extremely unlikely to cost the same as any other patient’s. So many variables come into play, making the price impossible to determine unless you visit us for a consultation.
At that point, we will discuss all of the details as well as the financing options that will make your new teeth affordable. Before that, here are a few of the factors that influence the price of dental implants.
Prior to dental implant placement, preliminary treatments such as tooth extractions, gum disease therapy, and bone grafts may be recommended. Tooth extractions are performed if there are any teeth that need to be removed because they are too damaged or decayed to be repaired. Gum disease therapy might be needed if the gums where the implant will be located are infected, inflamed, or receded. Bone grafts can be necessary if there is not enough bone to support the implant.
These procedures are essential to ensure the success of the dental implant process by making sure your mouth is free of infection (which could interfere with the healing process) and the tissues are strong enough to support the new teeth.
The Parts of Your Dental Implants
- Number of Implants: The cost of a single implant will be less compared to getting four to six to support a full denture.
- Type of Restoration: Implants can be paired with crowns, bridges, or dentures depending on how many teeth are being replaced. Similar to the number of implants, if there are more teeth involved, the more expensive the restoration will be.
- Size or Material: Dental implant posts can be made of many materials, with the most popular being titanium and zirconia. Each has its own unique benefits and cost, and we’ll cover these at your consultation.
- Brand of Dental Implant: Just like any other product, many different companies manufacture dental implants. Some brand-specific benefits and prices will be touched on so you can choose which one suits your situation best.
How Dental Implants Can Save You Money
Dental implants can help patients save money by providing a long-lasting solution to missing teeth. Unlike regular bridges or dentures, implants do not need to be replaced every few years, reducing long-term expenses. Implants also prevent further bone loss and dental issues, minimizing the need for costly future treatments. The savings associated with not having to purchase a new prosthetic every 5-10 years or having to deal with future tooth extractions/gum disease care can literally add up to thousands of dollars.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Because dental implants have become so popular, many dental insurance plans offer coverage for this procedure. Depending on the plan, dental insurance can cover a portion of the implant itself, the abutment, and restoration. However, some plans may have waiting periods or limitations on the number of implants covered. It’s important to review your dental insurance policy thoroughly before beginning treatment. Derby Dental is happy to accept a long list of PPO plans, and we’ll go over the details of your coverage at the beginning so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Making Dental Implants Affordable
We understand that dental implants can be quite the investment, which is why we offer multiple ways to pay so the procedure can fit into any budget. CareCredit is a third-party financier we work with that allows patients to space out paying for their treatments with low-to-no-interest plans. Signing up only takes a few minutes and can be done right through our website .
Another option is to sign up for our In-House Membership Plan , which in addition to covering your basic checkups and cleanings for the year, also entitles you to an up to 15% discount on additional treatments. You pay just one flat fee, and then there is literally no limit on how much you can save.
Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implants
When you care for them properly, dental implants can last upwards of three decades! This makes them the longest-lasting tooth replacement option available today. However, they will only last if you closely follow your aftercare instructions and maintain good habits. Here are some steps that you should be taking to keep your dental implants in good shape.
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
Dental implants cannot get cavities, but you should still practice excellent oral hygiene. In addition to keeping your surrounding teeth in good shape, sticking to an excellent oral hygiene routine can prevent other dental problems, like gum disease, that can cause your dental implants to fail. Remember to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash every day.
Eat a Healthy Diet
One of the many benefits of getting dental implants is the fact that you don’t need to worry about any eating restrictions. You could easily enjoy nutritious meals without struggling to chew. Just remember that enjoying too many foods that are hard, sticky, or sugary can be problematic for your oral health, so it pays to be cautious.
Break Bad Habits
Refrain from smoking or using other tobacco products immediately after your dental implant placement. This can slow down healing and increase your risk of developing an infection. Don’t use your teeth as tools either. You could end up accidentally damaging your dental implants or surrounding teeth. Instead, try to find some scissors, pliers, a bottle opener, or another tool that can help you complete your task safely.
Protect Your Dental Implants
Your dental implants may be strong, but they aren’t indestructible. You should always wear a mouthguard to protect your dental implants and natural teeth when participating in sports. If you grind your teeth at night, ask about a night guard to protect your implants from additional wear and tear.
Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups
You should always attend regular cleanings and checkups twice a year. This way, we can monitor your dental implants and spot any issues as easily as possible. By catching potential problems now, you can keep them from becoming more serious and leading to further consequences.