September 19, 2022
Losing a tooth is never a pleasurable experience. A missing tooth may cause you to become self-conscious about your smile and lowered confidence during social situations. That said, losing your tooth goes beyond just making you feel embarrassed to smile. There are also risks of compromising your oral health and overall well-being.
When you lose a tooth, you can experience complications such as defective speech, rapid bone loss, or changes in your chewing patterns. Thus, replacing a lost tooth is essential to maintain and improve your overall health and quality of life.
One of the best solutions for missing teeth is dental implants. This article takes a closer look at the basics of tooth implants and their benefits. The cost of getting this dental procedure is also discussed, along with the different factors that impact its price tag. For instance, you’ll learn why the cost of dental implants in Columbia, MO differs from other parts of the country. Moreover, you’ll know more about the procedure and recovery timeline, what to expect after the procedures, and tips to help you recover faster.
Understanding Dental Implants
A dental implant is an artificial metal structure that’s inserted into a patient’s jawbone. The metal, screw-like post implanted in the jawbone acts as an anchor for a crown or an artificial tooth connected by an abutment device.
Dental implants offer a welcoming alternative to bridgework or dentures that doesn’t fit well and are a great option when a lack of natural tooth root doesn’t allow building bridgework or denture tooth replacements.
Benefits Of Dental Implants
Dental implants are a popular tooth replacement option due to the numerous benefits that other procedures like bridges and dentures can’t offer. Below are some of the benefits of getting a dental implant:
• Prevents bone loss
• Restores bite force
• Allows natural speech
• Matches your natural teeth
• Revitalizes your face’s shape
• Keeps adjacent or nearby teeth stable
• Preserves the health of the surrounding gums and bones
• Improves confidence and overall quality of life
How Much Does It Cost?
Dental implants are designed to last for decades. For this reason, their price tag is somewhat higher than other dental solutions for missing teeth, such as dentures or bridges.
That said, the cost of dental implants can vary depending on several factors, including:
• The type and number of implants needed
• Whether there’s a need for extra preparation procedures
• Location of the implants
In addition, your location may also play a role. For instance, dental implants in Columbia, MO may be significantly cheaper than what dental clinics in bustling cities like New York charge. However, the price difference is only minimal.
That said, the average cost of dental implants in the US will cost you USD$3,000 – USD$4,500 per tooth. For a mouthful of implants, you can expect to pay between USD$60,000 and USD$90,000.
Your dentist can estimate the cost of your dental implant during the initial examination. Due to the high cost, some dental offices may also offer payment plans to make it easier for you. In addition, it’s important to note that, unlike dentures and bridges, dental implants are not always covered by dental insurance. So, make sure to check with your insurance plan’s provider to find out what to expect in terms of coverage.
Procedure And Recovery Timeline
A dental implant is an outpatient surgery consisting of several stages and procedures with healing time. The process can take months and even years to complete. And a majority of this timeline is devoted to healing and waiting for bone growth.
On average, the initial healing of your gums can take 7-10 days. But you can resume your daily activities at least 24 hours after getting your implant or any necessary procedure. That said, the damage to your bone will still need to heal. Also, your implant needs to bond with the bone (more on this later) to become a natural part of your mouth. The process can take another three to six months or more.
To give you a better overview of the dental procedure and healing timeline, here’s a detailed breakdown of what to expect when getting a tooth implant. Take note that you may not need some of the procedures.
• Tooth Removal
The dentist may recommend a tooth extraction if there’s a need to extract a decayed tooth. Depending on your case, your dentist may insert the implant installed that same day. But some may also let the extraction heal for a few weeks before starting the procedure.
• Jawbone Preparation Or Grafting
You need a strong jaw to accommodate the pressure when chewing and protect your implant. So, if your current jawbone is thick and strong enough, you may not need this procedure.
However, if your jawbone is too soft or isn’t thick enough, you’ll need bone grafting before getting a dental implant. Bone grafting helps create a more solid base for the implant, and your option may include natural bone graft or a synthetic bone graft. The key difference is that bone is taken from another location in your body in the former, while a bone-substitute material will be used in the latter.
You’ll have to wait several months for the transplanted bone to heal and grow to support a dental implant.
• Sinus Augmentation
Adding an implant to your upper jawbone is typically difficult due to the location of your sinuses. Your dentist may need to perform a sinus augmentation to lift the floor of your sinuses, allowing more bone to develop in the area.
As with bone grafting, you’ll need to wait several months for the surgery area to heal and for your bone to grow.
• Dental Implant Placement
Depending on the type of implant you’ll have, placement will vary significantly. The oral surgeon will cut your gums to expose your jawbone for an endosteal implant. Then, a hole is drilled deep into your bone, where the metal post will be implanted.
In contrast, a subperiosteal implant doesn’t require drilling your bone since the implant post will be placed above or on the bone. Regardless of your implant, you must wait a few days to reduce the swelling and discomfort and resume your daily activities.
• Bone Growth And Healing
While it only takes a few days for the bleeding to stop and reduce swelling, you’ll have to wait for three to six months for your bone to heal completely and for enough new bone growth occurs around the screw. This process is also called osseointegration which means ‘combining with the bone.’
During this period, the natural jaw bone will grow around your dental implant and strengthen its foundation to keep it firmly in place so it can function like your natural tooth.
• Abutment Placement
Once osseointegration is complete, you’ll need another surgery to install the abutment. This minor surgery reopens your gum to reveal the implant socket and attach the abutment. Then, the gum tissue is closed around the abutment. Your gums need to heal for another two weeks or so before the crown can be attached.
However, in some instances, the abutment may already be attached to the metal post during implant placement. Thus, you won’t need this extra surgical step.
• Crown Placement
Once the gum is healed, your dentist should take an impression of your teeth to make the crown. You can choose between a removable or fixed artificial tooth. Removable crowns are mounted onto the metal frame that can be attached to the abutment and can be removed for daily cleaning. Meanwhile, fixed teeth are permanently screwed or cemented to the abutment.
What To Expect After The Procedures?
Whether you have a tooth implant surgery in a single stage or several stages, you will experience some of the typical discomforts associated with most dental procedures. These include:
• Minor bleeding
• Pain at the implant site
• Swelling and bruising of your face and gums
• Tenderness and soreness in the implant site
Your dentist will generally prescribe pain medications and antibiotics to help deal with discomfort and prevent infections.
Taking Care Of Your Tooth Implant
The post-operative recovery phase can be quite frustrating, mainly because of the pain and inconvenience it creates. To make your recovery faster and easier, here are some tips to follow:
• Rest More
Getting enough rest allows your body to repair itself faster. This is even more critical in the days immediately after your tooth implant surgery. And even in the following weeks after the procedure, it’s still recommended that you avoid strenuous activities, especially those that can increase your risk of being hit in the face and result in post-operative complications.
• Stay Hydrated
Hydration is necessary for healing since it helps clear out the toxins in your body that only slow down your recovery. Drinking plenty of water can also help keep the implant site clean and prevents infection.
When hydrating, don’t drink through a straw since the sucking motion can pressure and disturb the implant site. Also, it’s best to only drink plain water and avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can irritate the area and slow down the recovery process.
• Eat Soft Foods
Eating only soft foods for a few days after the procedure is recommended. Chewing foods causes unnecessary jaw movement that can irritate the surgical site and may cause your wounds to open and bleed. This should also help prevent food particles from collecting in the implant site. Moreover, it’s best to avoid spicy or hot foods as they may cause excessive irritation or bleeding.
• Apply Ice Packs
Swelling and pain are typical after a dental implant procedure and can last for days. To help alleviate the discomfort, you can put ice on your cheek for 10 minutes to help curb the swelling. Repeat the process after 10 minutes of rest to prevent ice burns on your skin.
• Stop Smoking
Smoking is dangerous to your health and even more so after a dental implant. Smoking limits oxygen flow to your connective tissue and body. Without enough oxygen, the body’s natural healing process slows down. In addition, it increases your chances of developing a dry socket that often results in infection.
There’s no denying that a dental implant is one of the best tooth replacement solutions today. Not only does it mimic the functions and look of real teeth, but it can also last a lifetime when properly maintained and cared for.
That said, due to its invasive nature, getting a tooth implant can be quite painful and require a long recovery period to fully heal, depending on the factors mentioned above. However, with proper after-recovery habits, you should be able to get back to your daily lifestyle activities without worries.