Modern dentistry has made way for one of the most popular procedures to replace missing teeth. Explore the dental implant procedure and what to expect.
Are you missing at least one tooth? If so, you’re not alone — 120 million people in the U.S. have the same problem. What’s more, 36 million others no longer have any tooth!
In Texas alone, oral diseases have caused tooth loss in half of the adults between 45 and 64 years old. Also, one in every eight Texans older than 64 have no natural teeth left.
All these are shocking statistics, but there’s still good news. Dental implant therapy can give you natural-looking replacements for lost permanent teeth. They also feel more natural than dentures.
What exactly is the process for getting tooth implants though? Why are they a better choice than dentures and does insurance cover the procedure?
We’ll answer all these questions and more, so be sure to keep reading!
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is more of a tooth root replacement than an actual tooth replacement. The implant serves as a foundation for the abutment and the artificial tooth. An abutment is a small post attached to the implant, serving as a stable anchor for the artificial tooth.
Dental implants consist of titanium, a type of metal with excellent biocompatibility. This means that it’s not toxic to the body. It’s safe, durable, and will last a long time even with all your chewing and biting.
What Are the Common Types of Dental Implants?
The two main types of dental implants are endosteal and subperiosteal implants. The main difference between the two is the location of the implant.
Endosteal (endosseous) implants are surgically placed in the jawbone. They are the most commonly used type of implants today. Recent studies, like this one, have also found these implants to have up to a 99% patient satisfaction rate.
Whereas subperiosteal implants are implants placed under the gum tissue. But instead of being in the jawbone, they go on top of or above it. The gums, not the bone, will heal over the artificial tooth root.
These implants are often a good choice for people with a smaller or shorter jawbone. They’re lightweight, making them suitable for those who have a small jawbone structure.
How Does the Tooth Implant Procedure Work?
Once you decide to get implants from a dentist in Katy, TX, you may have to prepare for two surgical procedures.
The first one involves the surgical placement of the implants into or onto your jawbone. Where exactly depends on the type of implant your dentist will use.
After this, the implant undergoes “osseointegration.” This is the process that allows the implant to fuse with the jawbone. It can take between three to six months.
Also, your dentist in Katy can create a temporary appliance that you can wear during this time. This way, your mouth can still function well as the implant fuses with your jawbone.
Once the implant becomes a permanent part of the jawbone, you’re ready for the second step.
This involves attaching a small post to the implant and taking a Cerec scan of the implant area. The scanned images will allow your Katy dentist to create a natural-looking crown. It usually takes two to three days to create the replacement tooth.
All in all, the procedure can take between four and eight months. This also depends on how many implants you need.
Granted, this is longer than getting dentures. But remember: dentures are more temporary. Implants last longer, since they become a permanent part of your jawbone and your mouth.
That’s why implants are replacement teeth that look, feel, and work like natural teeth. Since they are part of the jawbone, they also help stimulate or “work out” the bone. This stimulation helps keep the bone from weakening.
Does Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Medicaid, Medicare, and other state insurances don’t cover tooth implants. The good news is, some private plans do. Others may also reimburse or refund part of your costs.
If you’re one of the 67% of Americans with a private health plan, check if it covers dental implants.
Private dental insurance plans may also cover some parts of your implant procedure. This may include anesthesia, or if needed, removing a diseased tooth.
Some medical insurance policies may also pay for or cover part of your implant procedure. But you may have to prove that the implants are “medically necessary.” An example is if you need an implant due to an accident that damaged your tooth.
Who Are Good Candidates for Tooth Implants?
You are a good candidate for dental implants if you have healthy gums. You do need to have enough jawbone though. This helps ensure that your bone will support and stabilize your implants.
If you have gum disease, your implant dentist in Katy needs to treat it first. Healthy gums are important, as this means they can heal properly once you get your new tooth roots.
But what about those who have lost some bone in their jaw? Can they still get implants?
Yes! In fact, it may help them keep what’s left of their bone. A study found that implants stimulated the growth of new bone.
Even people with osteoporosis can get implants! Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens and reduces bone density and quality. People who have this are fragile, as they have higher risks of fractures.
The good news is, studies have found that implants are successful in these people too. So long as they still have some jawbone that can hold the titanium roots, they are good candidates.
So, yes, people who have had some bone loss can still get tooth implants. Of course, it’s best to get the procedure before you lose part of your jawbone. This can happen if you don’t replace your lost tooth right away.
Enjoy the Benefits of Dental Implants Now
A dental implant may be your best and longest-lasting solution to a lost tooth. It is the most durable of all your options to replace a lost tooth. This is why the procedure takes longer than your other tooth replacement options.
But if you think of the many benefits of dental implants, you’ll see that it’s worth the wait. Also, they look more like permanent teeth. They function like natural teeth too, especially how they stimulate the jawbone.
Are you ready to fill those spaces left by your lost or missing teeth? If so, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We’ll be happy to discuss all your potential teeth replacement options.