Tooth loss remains a significant dental problem in the United States. Tooth decay and periodontal diseases are the leading cause of tooth loss. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, 7% of the American population loses at least one permanent tooth by the age of 17.
The American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) estimates more than 178 million Americans are missing one or more teeth, while 40 million adults have no teeth. The average American loses 12 permanent teeth by the time they’re 50 years old.
Surprisingly, only a small fraction of the population takes credible measures to replace their missing tooth. Only 6% of the American population has dental implants, despite advancements in restorative dentistry. Much of the gap between those missing teeth and those who do something about it can be attributed to both a lack of dental insurance among a wide swath of the population, and perceptions about the potential expense of such procedures.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implantation is a procedure to replace an extracted tooth. The process entails multiple dental surgeries to fill the gap with an artificial tooth root and a custom dental crown.
Dental implants are among the most common, and most consistently successful, treatment options for the restoration of missing permanent teeth. While the implantation process may take more time than a procedure like a cavity filled or a crown placed, the benefits of dental implantation — from the elimination of discomfort and worry to the return of a confident smile — are more than worth it.
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants fall into various categories, each with nuances and abilities to cater to varied needs and preferences. Endosteal and subperiosteal implants are the most popular. Endosteal is the best-in-class dental implant, while subperiosteal comes a close second.
Here are five different types of dental implants available today:
An endosteal dental implant is the most effective tooth replacement option, because they’re fixed in the jaw bone. These placeholder posts are typically made of titanium and require a strong, healthy jawbone to fuse to. Endosteal implants have different shapes — screw, cylinder, bladed types — and act as an artificial root for your new tooth.
Replacing a missing tooth with an endosteal implant is a lengthy, multistep process. The first step entails drilling into the jawbone to implant the titanium root. That’s why the process requires excellent jawbone health and density.
Then you must wait for the soft tissue and bone around the root to heal and fuse to create a stronghold. That could take a while, usually 3 to 4 months. Once you’ve healed, your dentist will place the false tooth on the post, and ensure it fits with the surrounding teeth.
Not everyone makes a good candidate for endosteal dental implants due to the state of their jawbone. Others aren’t comfortable with the pins being placed in their jawbone. In such cases, subperiosteal implants become an option.
Subperiosteal implants aren’t as popular or as commonly used today as endosteal implants. Traditionally, they were used to anchor dentures if a patient had insufficient bone height. Subperiosteal implants are placed on the jawbone but under the gum tissue. The metal implants are exposed through the jaw and used to hold the affordable dentures.
Since subperiosteal implants rest atop the jawbone, they aren’t as stable as the full endosteal implant system. The implant is held in place by soft tissue instead of being anchored into the bone. However, subperiosteal implants provide more support than dentures without implants.
Replacing a missing tooth with a subperiosteal implant is quicker, and the entire process can be done in two dental appointments.
Subperiosteal implants are an excellent option if you don’t have enough bone to support an endosteal implant. Some people have a naturally narrow jawbone ridge. Sometimes disease or trauma can wear down and weaken the jawbone, as well.
All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-4 dental implants are a valid option for adults who don’t wish to wear dentures. The replacement process entails placing four small titanium screws into the jaw to replace the root of the missing teeth. After the roots heal and fuse with the bone, the dentist places the crown to give you a functional row of teeth. The process requires minor surgery, and is aptly named because it uses four implants per jaw.
Implant overdentures are a top pick over traditional but affordable dentures, since they’re placed over implants for added stabilization. Overdentures are preferable because they have minimal discomfort, make it easy to chew foods, and don’t impede speech. They also don’t require denture adhesives, and can often be fitted over existing dentures.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
Implant-supported dental bridges are an ideal treatment option when you need to replace one or more missing teeth, but lack sufficient jawbone to support an implant. An implanted dental bridge comprises three parts — the implant, abutment, and restoration. This treatment option entails two surgical procedures, but helps to reduce the pressure placed on individual implants if and when you grind your teeth.
Are Dental Implants Expensive?
The price for dental implants can be difficult to anticipate without a consultation and examination from an experienced practitioner.
The reasons for the widely varying costs of dental implants depend on location, materials, the dental practice, and the amount of specialized work needed. The type of tooth that needs to be replaced can also affect the price. Back teeth, for instance, are more expensive to replace than front teeth.
While dental implants are often perceived as relatively pricey procedures, they’re permanent dental solutions that should last a lifetime. And while cheap implants may seem like a great bargain, they usually don’t last as long as high-quality work by experienced professionals, such as those at Smile Design Dentistry.
Affordable Options for Dental Implants
Luckily, there are ways those who’ve suffered lost permanent teeth can still restore their smile and dental health without breaking the bank. Here are some credible ways to find affordable dental implants.
Get the Best Dental Insurance Coverage Possible
Dental insurance is a proven way to lower your dental health expenses. Most plans cover a significant portion of your dental bills for necessary procedures, so you spend less money out of pocket. The best dental insurance for implants covers up to 50 percent of dental implants and treatment procedures.
How to Get Affordable Dental Implants without Dental Insurance
If you can’t afford great dental insurance — or dental insurance at all — there are still a few other options for getting dental implants at a price that might make you smile.
Many reputable dental service providers can help you explore your options for paying for your dental implant work. Smile Design Dentistry, for instance, accepts many dental discount plans, which function as a sort of savings stopgap for those without dental insurance, and can also assist you in applying for an appropriate no-interest payment plan with a credit lender that deals specifically with health and dental costs, such as CareCredit or GreenSky. You can visit Smile Design’s Patient Information page for details.
Don’t Let Missing Teeth Ruin Your Dental Health
At Smile Design Dentistry, we specialize in helping our patients regain their dental health and protect their smiles. You can count on our skillful surgeons to help you pick the best dental implant treatment option. We use cutting-edge technology and equipment to make every procedure quick and painless.
We are a family-owned and operated dental practice, and operate 50 offices across Florida. We are committed to making dental implant treatment affordable to people in Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area. Visit the Patient Information page of our website to discover how we can assist you in getting the dental implants you need, within your budget.
Ready to protect your dental health and wellbeing? Schedule an appointment and let us work with you today!