Dental Implants 101

More than 35 million Americans do not have any teeth, and 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth. These numbers are expected to grow in the next two decades.

Missing teeth is not just a problem for the elderly, people of all ages can experience tooth loss. From sports injuries to facial trauma to decay, the possibility of needing a replacement tooth solution is an almost certainty for most people.

An incomplete smile can significantly impact many aspects of your life. Even a single missing tooth can affect your ability to enjoy the foods you love, and compromise your confidence in your appearance. Those who wear dentures have the added worry of fear and embarrassment when their dentures slip or fall out while talking or eating a meal in public.

Dental implants are the most popular and successful solution to the missing teeth problem. They look and function just like you natural teeth, so much so that most people with dental implants forget that they were ever missing teeth to begin with!

Dental Implant FAQs:

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are essentially synthetic tooth roots, which are made out of titanium. Dental implants fuse with your existing jaw bone, integrating just as your natural tooth root does. Over time, implants stimulate bone growth and prevent future bone loss, which

is common in areas of the jaw that have missing teeth.

How much do implants cost?

There is no hiding the fact that dental implants are expensive. Single tooth dental implants can range from $2000 to $5000. When attempting to explain why dental implants are so expensive, it is important to note that the patient is not buying a product, but a medical service. It is very easy to forget this fact when price-shopping. Dental implants are medical devices implanted into living tissue. This living tissue is also home to nerves, blood vessels, and sinuses. Dental implant placement is both a science and an art.

If placed correctly, dental implants have the amazing ability to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, if an implant is poorly positioned the outcome is not as successful. Due to the small surgical environment, a one to two millimeter mistake can spell disaster for the patient and the implant. The success rate of dental implants is directly related to who is placing the implant. Many studies have shown that providers with specialized training and experience in implantology science enjoy a high success rate.

Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons here at Carolinas Oral and Facial Surgery Center have all undergone additional years of specialized surgical training in a clinical environment after they completed their dental training. COFSC has been changing patient lives with dental implants for almost twenty years.

So, how much do they cost, and what do I get for the cost?

As stated above, there is a range of prices for single implants. This has much to do with your individual situation and clinical needs, which the surgeon evaluates during your first visit. It is impossible to specifically quote the cost of your dental implant(s) until you are seen by our surgeons.

We charge one flat fee for each implant (excluding any patient-specific preparatory procedures), which includes the initial evaluation, all of the implant material costs, the surgical procedure to place the implant, all post-op follow-up appointments, and the final implant uncovering. You can be assured that your experience at COFSC will be effortless and worry-free.

Does insurance cover implants?

Typically, insurance does not cover implants. However, in the past few years, more and more insurers have begun to include dental implants in their covered procedures under certain circumstances. Your specific insurance coverage will be verified at the time of your consult, and you will be provided with all of the information that you need to make your decision.

What if I don’t have insurance, or my insurance doesn’t cover implants?

If you don’t have insurance coverage for implants, we have several payment options that make dental implants affordable for everyone.

In addition to insurance and cash/checks, we accept all major forms of credit cards. We also provide third party lending solutions, which allow you to finance your implant(s) over a period of time. Our financial coordinators will assist you in finding the perfect arrangement, making your new smile a reality.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types of Restorations?

Dentures VS. Bar Attachment Denture™ Implant Bridge

DENTURES

  • Little change over the past few centuries
  • Poor fitting, causes sore spots
  • Embarrassing moments
  • Limited chewing ability
  • Very bulky, interferes with taste
  • Must be removed at night

BAR ATTACHMENT DENTURE™ IMPLANT BRIDGE

  • Proven technique for the new millennium
  • Uses 4 implants in each jaw
  • Teeth are permanently fixed
  • No need for bone grafting and sinus lifting
  • Replaces teeth without bulky denture base
  • Chewing ability similar to natural teeth

Bridges VS. Single Tooth Dental Implant

BRIDGES (insert bridge image; AstraTech existing)

  • Require that the adjacent healthy teeth be ground down to support the false tooth
  • Does not replace the tooth root, therefore bone loss will still occur
  • If an adjacent anchor tooth is lost or damaged, the next healthy tooth will need to be ground down, and another bridge will need to be made
  • Last only 7-10 years on average
  • Lower costs in the short term, costs increase as the need for replacement occurs

SINGLE TOOTH DENTAL IMPLANT

  • Does not damage adjacent teeth
  • Integrates with the jaw, preventing any future bone loss
  • With proper care, implants can last forever
  • Looks, feels and performs like your natural tooth

Will I have a tooth when I leave the surgical appointment?

In many situations, you may be able to leave the office on the day of your implant surgery with a temporary crown. Other patients will be able to have a temporary tooth or dentures placed by their dentist until their permanent restorations are fabricated. According to your individual needs and circumstances, the surgeon will be able to determine if this is a possibility for you.

How long does the actual procedure take?

Dental implants are usually placed during a 1-hour appointment. During that time, the surgeon will speak with you again regarding your treatment plan and you will receive whichever anesthesia you have selected for your comfort before the surgery.

What types of anesthesia is used? Will the implant surgery hurt?

The majority of dental implants and bone graft procedures can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, as well as with or without general anesthesia. Our office also offers nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”. Regardless of which anesthesia you select, we ensure that your dental implant surgery will be painless and stress free.

Am I a Candidate for Implants?

If you are considering implants, you will need to have a thorough oral examination, and your medical and dental histories must be reviewed. If your mouth is currently not ideal for implants, ways of improving the outcome, such as bone grafting or other procedures may be recommended.

Do Dental Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for a lifetime if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.