The human quest to replace missing teeth started in approximately 700 BC with dentures created from real teeth sourced from animals and humans. The trend eventually shifted to creating fake teeth out of ivory, and George Washington was one of the first people to wear ivory dentures. The concept of permanently attaching new teeth to the body goes back as far as 2500 BC when gold wire was used to attach teeth. By the 1600s, our ancestors were removing teeth from dead bodies and transplanting them into the gums.

Today, technology allows us to create beautiful sets of teeth that closely resemble natural teeth in appearance and functionality. While dentures are far more comfortable than in the past, they’re still unattached to the body and can fall loose or dig into the gums for an uncomfortable experience. That is why dental implants are quickly growing in popularity. You don’t have to remove them when you sleep, worry about them slipping out of place as you eat or interfering with the sound of your voice when you speak.


The Cost of Dental Implants

Dental implants are more expensive than dentures, but that is because they involve dental surgery that allows them to attach into your jawbone. This creates a permanent structure that offers improved functionality over dentures. The cost of modern dental implants has dramatically decreased over the years, so don’t assume that they’re beyond your budget.


6 Factors that Determine the Cost of Dental Implants

If you have spoken to multiple people about their experiences with dental implants, you may already know that the cost of implants can vary. There are differences between dentists within the same community as well as differences between various cities and regions of the country. There are also some differences between patients because not all dental implant procedures are the same. The following factors are considered when an estimate of cost is delivered.


1. One- or Two-Stage Process

Some people require bone grafting or other restorative work to their bone structure before their dentist can complete the implant process. The process is personalized to fit the needs of each person, but one of the following procedures is generally selected:

One-Stage Implants: Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, and an abutment is extended through the gum to allow easy placement of the crown after the gums heal. One-day dental implant procedures are now offered by a growing number of dentists, but you must have adequate bone structure and healthy gums to allow placement of the crowns immediately after placing the implants.

Two-Stage Implants: This procedure requires two surgeries and is often considered the best option for people who don’t have adequate bone structure to fully support dental implants immediately. The implants are placed in the jawbone and are covered by gum tissue while fully healing. This allows bone mass to collect around the implant, creating a stronger support for the crowns. A second surgery is performed to add the abutment and crown.

Same-day dental implants are growing in demand because most people don’t want to wait up to six months for the initial implant to fully heal before receiving their crowns. As technology advances and dentists become more skilled with implant strategies, more people will qualify for one-day surgeries that instantly transform their smile.


2. Bone Grafting

If you go for any length of time with missing teeth, you will gradually lose bone density in the jaw. This bone is naturally designed to support the teeth, but the term “use it or lose it” applies. If you want to have dental implants placed but no longer have adequate bone structure that is strong enough to support the dentures, your dentist can perform bone grafting to surgically implant bone that is donated for this purpose.

This is an added step that requires additional surgery, so it naturally increases the overall cost of dental implants. Not everyone requires bone grafting, and the only way to determine the strength and health of your bone is to visit a dentist experienced in dental implants. If you have missing or decayed teeth, you may save some money simply by going to the dentist immediately. The longer you wait, the less bone you may have for your dentist to utilize.


3. Number of Implants

If you need more than one implant placed in your gum, the cost of your surgery will increase. Technology is advancing in this area, and new techniques are emerging that allow dentists to place more crowns on a single implant. The final cost of your surgery could depend on whether or not your dental professional has mastered these advanced techniques and is able to maximize crowns per implant.


4. Pre-Surgery Testing

Testing is sometimes required to give the dentist a clear view of the jaw and bite. This allows the dentist to place the implants with precision, improving the appearance and functionality of your implants and crowns. The amount and type of testing required for your surgery will depend on your unique dental needs and the preferences or procedures of your dentist.


5. Implant Material

Titanium is the most effective material for a dental implant because it’s strong and is compatible with the human body. This means that you’re less likely to suffer from rejection of the implant or other discomforts. Some dentists will offer zircon-based implants in an effort to reduce the cost of dental implants, but the implants may not last as long as stronger implants made from titanium.


6. Position of the Implant

Endosteal dental implants are implanted directly into the jawbone while subperiosteal implants are placed in the gum tissue above the jawbone. Placement in the jawbone creates a stronger support system for the crowns, but not everyone has the bone structure to support that type of dental implant. Placement in the gum tissue is an alternative.


Payment Options for Dental Implants

Most dental insurance plans won’t cover dental implants because dentures are a more affordable alternative. This doesn’t mean that you can’t afford implants. You can consider the following alternatives for financing the procedure:


Third-party finance company

– Check with your bank and other financial institutions where you have established a history of trust. You may also look into Care Credit financing.


In-office financing

– Many providers offering dental implants will provide their own payment plans or installment arrangements.

The cost of dental implants is gradually decreasing, so they will become more affordable in the future. You may also reduce your cost by simply talking to a dentist about dental implants as soon as you realize that your teeth are failing. The longer you go with decayed or missing teeth, the more likely you are to require the two-stage surgery, bone grafting and other restorative work for your jawbone.

The benefits of dental implants are more than worth the cost. They look and feel like your natural teeth, and you never have to worry about taking them out for cleaning or gluing them into your mouth. You can eat all of your favorite foods without worrying that your teeth will break or fall out. Functional teeth are now within reach of most people.

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