What Are Dental Implants?

What are dental implants? The short answer is that dental implants are the best possible option to replace lost or damage teeth.  Dental hygiene is incredibly important for one’s overall health. Proper dental hygiene has been tied to improved overall health and longevity, as well as emotional health and wellbeing.  As one ages your teeth can degrade or become damaged due to poor eating or injury.  In such instances you may lose the tooth or need it removed, or worse, you may lose multiple teeth. 

For many years the only option available when you lost adult teeth was an unsightly gap, or dentures. As dental technologies and medical science became more advanced, additional options became available, such as the dental bridge.  However, there is a better option available to you, one that will last a lifetime and be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth, the Dental Implant.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a specially designed tooth that is surgically implanted in your mouth, taking the place of the natural tooth that you lost.  The dental implant can be thought of as a screw and an imitation tooth that are attached directly to your jawbone, ensuring a solid fit.  A major complaint with dentures is that dentures do not perform like natural teeth.  They are prone to sliding, they garble the voice, and they do not allow for natural eating. 

On top of all that dentures are not typically comfortable.  Add on a special cleaning requirement and you have a replacement option that is more trouble than its worth.  A dental implant has none of the same downsides, offering comfort, usability, and quality looks.

Parts of a Dental Implant

A dental implant has two parts, only one of which is actually called the dental implant.  The dental implant is actually the part of the new tooth that attaches to the jaw bone. A surgical procedure is used to drill into the jawbone and screw in the implant.  The dental implant works as a new root, an artificial root that anchors the new implanted tooth to your mouth.  The implant bonds to the bones and become the base to support your new teeth.  With a strong base the implant as a whole can function almost as perfect as your natural teeth.  The tooth part of the dental implant, which is known as an abutment, or colloquially as a crown, attaches to the implant, and takes the place of your missing tooth.

A crown is designed specially for your mouth to match your natural teeth. The crown is color matched so that it doesn’t stand out amongst the rest of your teeth.  I dental implant doctor will also take molds of your mouth to make sure that the implant is shaped properly. Unlike a dental bridge requires that the dentist shapes and sands your existing teeth down and makes room for the bridge. But a dental implant needs little to no modification of your existing teeth.  A well-made implant will last you 30 or more years.

Dental Implant Cost

Now not all dental implants cost the same.  Dental implants will vary in cost depending on the procedure and the number of implants needed. Number of implants, amount of surgery and materials used for your implant(s) will influence the cost of your implant.  A single implant will usually end up costing you between $1,000 and $3,000. 

The more implants you need the higher the price, with some procedures reaching $5,000 to $6,000.  However, dental implants are worth every penny and offer a lifetime of savings over the other options for replacing missing teeth.  After your initial consultation you’ll have several follow up appointments and then your actual surgical procedure date. Any dental implant doctor will take you through multiple appointments as no two procedures will be the same.  But the time and money spent on a dental implant are worth it, as you will get functionality back in your mouth, and confidence back in your smile.