Dental Implants 101

Dental implants are sported by more than 3 million people in the United States, most of whom are over the age of 55. When your natural teeth become compromised, you don’t have to suffer through the struggles of dentures. Implants are quickly becoming the chosen dental alternative among older adults. 

Wondering what dental implants cost in the long run? Before you write off this procedure due to finances, it is important to understand that there are plenty of payment options to help lower the cost. Many insurance plans cut down the cost of the procedure, and many oral surgery facilities have flexible payment plans. 

To read more about the dental implants procedure, including information about crowns and abutments, continue reading the sections below. Learn how to find affordable dental implants that fit your budget and complement your lifestyle.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the closest things to having real teeth. Along with a few other changes, getting older commonly means tooth deterioration, decay or complete loss. Rather than fumbling around with slippery dentures each day, implants offer the kind of stability and peace of mind that accompany natural teeth. Aside from having a big impact on one’s confidence, tooth loss poses a risk of bone deterioration and malnutrition. 

The dental implants procedure consists of inserting a screw-like implant into the jawbone, which bonds with the bone and forms a sturdy base. Then, an abutment (or connector) is attached to the implant and connects to a crown. Crowns are custom-made fake teeth that are designed to look and feel like natural teeth. 

Before an oral procedure of any kind, it is necessary to consult with an oral surgeon to discuss the best type, fit and options. Dentists take x-rays and molds of the patient’s teeth to ensure the implants are an exact fit. 

What to Expect With a Dental Implants Procedure

While each patient is different, most individuals experience a quick and relatively pain-free surgical experience. Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone, but thanks to local anesthesia and IV painkillers, the entire mouth and jaw is numb. 

The dental implants procedure is comprised of three main steps: the consultation, the evaluation and the surgery. During a consultation, a dentist or oral surgeon determines whether the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. 

During the surgical evaluation, an oral surgeon conducts a few tests to see if the patient’s bones are strong enough for implants. Those with weak or porous bones may need a bone graft, which makes a strong foundation for the implant when one’s bone is too soft.

Most patients will undergo several sessions of implant procedures to gradually replace natural teeth with implants. Those who require an entire mouthful of implants can expect to visit the oral surgeon for several weeks. 

The healing process for a dental implants procedure is different for everyone, but most patients will have slight discomfort that is normal among all oral surgeries. They may experience:

  • Swelling
  • Minor bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Tooth pain
Overall, most patients feel well enough to return to work or normal activity within a few days. Fortunately, implants are designed to last a lifetime, unlike some other artificial tooth options.

Finding Affordable Dental Implants 

Most dental implants patients are seniors or older adults, many of whom live on a fixed or limited income. Finding room in the budget for implants can be tough, but there are many financial options available to help more Americans get access to the procedure, including cheap and inexpensive dental implant payment plans. 

Dental implants cost money, there’s no secret about that. Between the implant, abutment and crown, it can cost between $1,000 and $3,000 per tooth. However, the total cost of the procedure from start to finish varies greatly depending on a few key factors, such as:

Most insurance plans do not cover the total cost of dental implants surgery. However, many pay a portion of the out-of-pocket expenses. It is always best to shop around for dental plans that specialize in implants to maximize savings. 

Many affordable dental implants practices offer flexible payment plans to help patients afford implants. Rather than paying the total cost up front, these plans break it down into affordable monthly payments. For seniors on a tight budget, this can be a huge relief.