Dental implants are a popular way to improve the health and stability of your mouth. If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental implant can help you smile, talk and chew confidently again.
The cost of a dental implant varies depending on the number of implants that you need, the material used, and in what country you’re being treated. The pricing differential depends on many factors, such as cost of living, exchange rates, practicing costs or regulatory conditions, which may differ greatly from country to country. Prices below represent the starting cost of a dental implant including abutment and crown (typically ceramic-metal crowns).
Dental implants can be made of titanium or zirconia. An implant is comprised of three parts: the implant device itself that serves as substitute for the tooth root, the overlying crown or denture, and the abutment, which connects the implant device to the crown, bridge, or denture. Once the abutment is screwed into the implant, and the tissue sutured, it is left to heal and become stable. The implant gets fused to the jawbone after a period of 4 to 6 months.
Bone grafting is the placement of either natural or synthetic bone material to an area where natural bone is not sufficient. During the procedure, the surgeon will take a section of bone from another area of your body (usually the hip) or use synthetic bone material to graft it onto your jaw bone. Bone grafting will require additional time before the actual dental implant procedure can start as it can take up to several months for the graft to create new, strong bone. When only a minor bone graft is needed, you might be able to have the procedure at the same time as the implant surgery. A panoramic dental x-ray and a CT scan will help check the amount of bone available to determine whether bone grafting is necessary for the implant placement.
In combination with bone grafting, a sinus lift may be required: when the bone is added between your upper jaw and the maxillary sinuses (one of the sinuses located near the nose), the sinus membrane needs to be moved upward (or “lifted”) to make room for the bone.
Dental implants are usually not recommended for:
The timing of the dental implants procedure, and the number of visits required, is largely dependent on each individual, specifically on how quickly the implanted tooth and surrounding area heals and if the patient needs bone grafting. When bone grafting is not required, the complete procedure (from the consultation visit to the last one, where the permanent crown is placed) can take 5 to 6 months. When bone grafting is required, the treatment can take up to 12 months to be completed.
Below are the 6 steps that must occur in order to get a dental implant:
In order to determine the best treatment plan for each individual’s needs, the oral surgeon will need an updated x-ray of the patient’s mouth. The surgeon will then be able to evaluate the health of the teeth and determine if teeth extraction, bone grafting, or sinus lifting will be needed for the dental implant. During the first personal consultation, the dentist might also order additional examinations or request a CT scan to check bone mass.
If the natural bone is not sufficient, bone grafting may be necessary. A bone graft involves the placement of either natural or synthetic bone material so that the implant will be stable and secure. Depending on the quantity of additional bone mass necessary, a bone graft can be performed at the same time as implant surgery or in a separate session.
The surgery time depends on the number of implants needed and the overall health of the patient’s mouth. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, surgery can last anywhere from less than an hour to up to 6 hours. The procedure occurs under local anesthesia and is the same regardless of how many implants are necessary. The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. Once the jawbone is exposed, the dentist will use a special drill to create the space for the implant in the bone. The implant is then placed into the jawbone and the gums are stitched closed over the implant. Your surgeon will place a temporary crown or retainer to fill the hole created.
Osseointegration, the process in which the implant becomes a part of the jaw, takes about 4 to 6 months to complete. This is usually referred to as the healing period.
When the gum tissue is fully healed and ready, it is re-exposed to attach the abutment to the implant. The doctor will then take impressions of the mouth to create a crown in a dental laboratory that will be shaded to match the existing teeth. This process can take anywhere from 4 to 10 days. Once the custom-made crown is ready, it is placed over the abutment, and the final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.
Some small bruises and swelling in the gum may occur right after surgery. Patients should avoid smoking and eating solid food until the gums are healed. The long-term success of an implant requires oral hygiene. It is paramount to keep implants, artificial teeth, and gum tissue clean, just like natural teeth. Moreover, it is advised to do regular check- ups (preferably every 6-12 months) to check oral hygiene, and the function and stability of the implant.
Below, the most frequently used brands for dental implants:
AlphaBio: Alpha-Bio implants are made from a titanium alloy, which is extremely resistant and durable as well as highly biocompatible with the human body.
Ankylos: The implants from Ankylos are made from purely neutral titanium, ensuring the highest level of compatibility with the human body. The shape is specially designed to ensure perfect fixing after restoration.
AstraTech: AstraTech implants are designed for immediate restoration and are made of titanium.
Nobel Biocare: Nobel Biocare implants are made from pure titanium and are cold-worked for durability and strength.
Straumann: Straumann implants are designed to reduce healing time and have a taper connection which guarantees maximum implant stability.
The All-on-Four dental implant is a technique that involves a full-arch rehabilitation where all the teeth are supported by 4 implants. It consists of placing 4 implants (supporting 10 to 14 custom-made crowns), either in the maxilla, the mandible, or both.
Similar to All-on-Four, the All-on-Six dental implant involves placing 6 dental implants in the upper or/and lower jawbone as a support for 10 to 14 custom-made crowns. Both All-on-Four and All-on-Six implants are recommended for patients who suffer from significant tooth decay or loss, or for those who have low bone density in the jaw area, preventing them from getting individual dental implants.
Here’s what to expect before and after your treatment:
Before implant session You may need to have a teeth cleaning done before the actual dental implant procedure can start. Depending on your teeth conditions, you might need 1 up to 4 sessions (one session every week).
After implant session After the implant session - that is when the implant is inserted into your jawbone - you might feel discomfort or pain once the anesthesia has worn off. Moreover, some small bruises and swelling in the gum may occur. You may be restricted to a soft-food diet for about a week. Healing time after this procedure ranges from 4 to 6 months.
After the following sessions Once your healing time is complete, the following sessions will involve taking impressions of your teeth, creating custom-made crowns for your implants and doing some tests to see if the crowns fit and feel good in your mouth. Then, the crown will be sealed to your implant. You can go back to your routine activities right after.
Once treatment is complete (4 to 6 months after implantation)