A dental implant may be the solution for a person whose tooth or teeth are discolored by years of smoking or medication or if their tooth is broken, misshapen or has been lost. The crown of a dental implant can be made to look startlingly lifelike, with a dental lab creating it to match the size and color of the patient’s natural teeth. However, having a dental implant requires some commitment on the part of the patient and skill on the part of the dentist. A dental implant is also pricey. As of 2018, a single dental implant can cost between $1000 and $3000. Most insurance plans either don’t cover them or cover only a small percentage of the cost.
How Does a Dental Implant Work?
A dental implant is a post or a frame that is inserted into the jawbone or beneath the gum and allowed to fit over or fuse to the bone. After this happens, the post or frame is fitted with an artificial crown. The osseointegration, as it is called, holds the dental implant very securely in the patient’s mouth. It will not slip or come loose as dentures or traditional bridges might. Because it is so stable, the dental implant feels like a natural tooth. They are ideal for people who simply can’t tolerate dentures or bridges for whatever reason.
Who is a Candidate for a Dental Implant?
A candidate for a dental implant is a person in good health whose gums are healthy and who has enough bone in their jaw to hold the implant. Some people who do not have enough bone in their jaw can be helped by autografts. The dentist grafts bone from another part of the patient’s body such as their hip into the jaw. This eliminates the risk of rejection. The patient must also be willing and able to perform rigorous oral care and to make several trips to the dentist over several months.
What Kind of Dental Implant Is Right?
There are two kinds of dental implants recognized by the American Dental Association. In endosteal dental implants, a post is inserted into the jawbone then covered with a flap of gum. When the post and bone have fused, the dentist opens up the gum and places an abutment on top of the post then places a crown on top of the abutment. Most posts are made of titanium, a strong, silvery metal that is biocompatible. These posts have threads or are honeycombed to make it easier for the bone to fuse with it. The post can be singular or part of a denture or a bridge.
A subperiosteal dental implant is when a metal frame is placed on the jawbone beneath the gums. The frame is stabilized as the gum heals. The artificial teeth are placed on the posts that stick up from the frame through the gums.
How Long Does a Dental Implant Take?
The entire process to place a dental implant takes about three to six months, and it may be longer if the patient needs a bone graft. Some patients who do not want to wait that long for their dental implant have their dentist install the post and the crown at the same time.
Pauly Dental offers full dentistry services at our Wichita, Kansas dental practice. Call Wichita Dentist Pauly Dental today to discuss your options and available treatment plans. Call us at (316) 263-0889 or send us a message.