No matter how good your oral hygiene routine, circumstances may lead to you losing one or more of your teeth during your lifetime. Thankfully prosthetics (artificial body parts) have been developed to allow you to replace missing teeth. Dentures have been, and remain, the go to option.
Advances in modern medicine and technology mean there are now more choices. An increasingly popular option is dental implants. Potentially the most desirable choice, the decision process and steps involved with getting an implant are complex.
Every dental surgery will break the costs down differently. It is important to remember and be aware of subtle differences that can affect the price such as the brand used, the techniques used, and the type of artificial tooth placed on top.
Parts of a dental implant
The implant is usually made of titanium and is surgically placed by a dentist or dental specialist such as an oral surgeon. These screw-like parts are placed into the jawbone and are meant to imitate the root of the tooth.
The three parts of a dental implant are:
• The implant: a replacement for the root of the missing tooth which provides an incredibly strong base upon which the replacement tooth can be mounted.
• The abutment: a connector and links the implant and the crown together.
• The crown: a permanent, replacement tooth that is mounted on the implant (and the only visible part).
If you are looking at prices for dental implants, be sure to check that the price you are seeing includes all three components and not just the implant itself. The price for these components is usually given per single tooth.
What does dental implant treatment involve?
Before looking at the cost of dental implants, let’s see what a dental implant is. Three key components are combined to form an artificial replacement for the all-important root that holds the tooth in place, along with a natural-looking crown.
There is a lot involved in the process of fitting dental implants. It is a good idea to be familiar with the process before making a decision. This means you will know what you are paying for from the outset and not have to worry about any unexpected extras.
The Dental Implant process begins with a consultation.
This will allow the dentist to discuss:
• What is involved with you;
• Talk about your expectations and answer any questions you may have;
• And prepare a fully formed treatment plan for you.
At the end of the consultation you will have the agreed costs of the entire treatment.
X-Rays & bone density
For successful, long-lasting dental implant treatment, it is important that the bone density is satisfactory and that there is a sufficient amount of bone in the location.
X-rays, if required, will be taken at your initial consultation.In some cases, it will be necessary for bone grafting and/or a sinus lift to be carried out before it is possible to proceed with implants.
Prophylactic hygiene treatment
It’s also important that the teeth and gums are as healthy as possible for the treatment to be a success.Before beginning the implant process, dentists conduct a Prophylactic Clean which serves to clear the gums and mouth of any harmful bacteria.
Once everything is in order, it will then be possible for your dentist to begin fitting your implants.
First the implant itself – the replacement root – will be fitted into place and protected with a temporary abutment. Once the implant has bonded properly, the final abutment and crown can be fitted.
Aftercare medication and cleaning
Although the process itself is generally straightforward and painless, because of the nature of the treatment aftercare medication is required to prevent infection and discomfort.
Finally, you will be advised of the best techniques to look after your fantastic new smile.
Dental Implant Surgery Prep
Your dentist may provide you with some pre-operative instructions to follow. These may include:
• Having you rinse with a special anti-bacterial mouthwash, such as chlorhexidine.
• Prescribing antibiotics to take for a few days prior to surgery as a preventative measure.
• Asking you to eat a good breakfast on the day of surgery, unless you are planning on having the procedure done under IV sedation. In that case, you would not be eating anything after midnight the night before surgery.
• Having someone available to bring you to the appointment and drive you home if you elected to take an oral sedative or have IV sedation.
Day of Surgery
The surgical phase is done in the dental office with local anesthesia but can also be done with IV sedation if performed by an oral surgeon.
The First Phase
1. For the surgical placement of the implant, your mouth will be thoroughly numbed with local anesthesia.
2. An incision is made in your gums where the implant will go to expose the bone underneath.
3. A specialized (but quiet) drill will then be used to create a space for the implant in the bone.
4. The implant itself is then screwed in place with either a hand tool or the same implant drill used to create the initial space.
5. After the implant is snugly in place, a second component will be screwed into the implant itself and will remain in place during the healing process.
6. The gums are closed over the implant and a stitch or two may be placed.
7. Over the course of the next few months, the implant becomes securely attached to the bone.
The Second Phase
1. The second phase starts with the re-exposure of the implant. Another small incision is made in your gums to expose the implant unless there was a separate component placed on the implant that sits above the gums.
2. A small extension is placed on the implant for an impression taken. This component is what the lab will use to fit your new crown.
3. Your dentist will then start a series of appointments to make your new implant crown. Though some of the steps might be different in your case, they usually include making impressions of your teeth. From these impressions, they will make precise working models of your mouth, which are carefully mounted for proper alignment. Your crown is fabricated on these models.
4. The last step is the final placement of your new crown. In some cases, depending on which tooth is being restored, the dentist may want to try in the new crown before it is completely finished to check the shape and fit of it in your mouth.
It is normal to have some small bruises and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. Usually, the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller, such as ibuprofen, hydrocodone, or codeine.
Dental Implant Costs
Let’s be clear about this, dental implants are not cheap. However, the implant and the artificial tooth that are fitted to it are an investment and can bring benefits and gains that are not easy to sum up financially.Although implants generally cost more than other solutions, they may save you money in the long-term. Alternative methods such as bridges and dentures have shorter lifespans on average, meaning they might need to be replaced quicker than an implant.
Your individual treatment plan
The cost of your implant will vary depending on how many teeth need to be replaced, but also on whether you need any additional work to improve your oral health before your implant can be placed.
If there isn’t enough bone in your jaw to support a dental implant, you might need to have a bone graft before having it fitted to ensure your implant is a success. Read our guide on the implant procedure for more information.
How much does a single tooth implant cost?
Quite simply, it is not possible to give an exact cost. Your individual circumstances and wants all impact the final price that a dental practice can offer an implanted tooth for. Location, complexity and materials used all have a bearing. As a rough guideline as to what you might pay for a single tooth implant, the price can be different.
How much do multiple teeth implants cost?
With every additional implant and artificial tooth required will come an additional costs that will raise the price you will have to pay. However, there are some cost savings to be had if you are having multiple implants at one time.Consultation fees, x-rays, scans and associated fees can be reduced as these typically are being done once, rather than at different times if you were to have each implant done separately.You may need only 1 anesthetic and surgery time as opposed to multiple instances of each. If you are having 2-4 teeth in a row replaced, an implant bridge can help reduce the cost potentially as only 2 implants might be needed as opposed to 3 or 4.
How much do dental implants cost for a full mouth?
If you are missing all your teeth and require implants for both upper and lower jaws then the total cost can be higher. As previously mentioned there are some innovative solutions such as All-on-4 (implant retained dentures) that can bring the costs down.
As you should be aware, if you have read the other sections of this article, there are many factors that influence the total cost, so it really is important that you get a professional assessment done to understand what the cost would be for you, as the prices we provide are nothing more than rough estimations based on typical procedures.
What makes implants cost more than other solutions?
Dental implants are made from high-quality materials. The fixture and abutment (which is screwed into the implant to support the crown) are made of titanium alloy, whilst the crown is made from porcelain or ceramic to get the natural finish of a tooth, and a denture usually of acrylic. The crown (false tooth) which sits on your implant is custom-made by a dental technician, so the implant will fit snugly into your gum so the crown or denture which sits in it is the same shape, size and colour as your natural teeth.