March 11, 2015

Examining The Cost Of Dental Implants


Patients who require dental implants have missing teeth or no teeth. Superior to dentures dental implants are perfect replacements for a persons natural teeth. People who can afford dental implant surgery can expect natural looking teeth that are durable and life like. Ideal candidates for dental implants must have adequate bone and gum tissue, this can be determined by a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.). Besides the aesthetic value of dental implants is the health aspect. Many people with missing teeth have a sunken mouth and receding jawline appearance when viewed from a side profile. Bone shrinkage and the lack of bone stimulation from having missing teeth or no teeth results in bone loss. Wearing dentures can actually contribute to accelerated bone loss in most people.

History Of The Types Of Dental Implants

Endosteal and subperiosteal are the two main types of dental implants. Endosteal implants are placed in the jawbone, in the shape of small screws, cylinders, hollow and blade implants. Subperiosteal implants are placed above the jawbone and under the gum tissue, ideal for patients who have a less than substantial jawbone tissue.

  • Screw type Implants: One of the implant types used in dental implant surgery. Screw implants can be placed in small sockets. Able to transmit the same biting force comparable to having real teeth. These are the type of implants that are used today.
  • Cylinder type Implants: Cylindrical shaped implants are inserted into the jawbone. Cylinder implants are no longer used.
  • Hollow implants: Hollow type implants with multiple holes in the vertical body and not used in this day and age.
  • Blade Implants: Blade implants are in the shape of plates. Preferably used in patients with a narrow bone width. These were a very popular choice of implants in patients that had a lot of horizontal bone loss.

Dental implants are made from the following materials: pure titanium, titanium alloy and titanium nickel alloy. Pure titanium has a high bonding ability with bone and titanium alloy is of a similar quality. Titanium nickel alloy is used because it adheres to bone tissue adequately.

Dental implant surgery is completed in two stages. In the first stage the dentist will surgically place a metal screw implant into the jawbone, an abutment is next screwed into the non visible metal screw. After this initial stage procedure the patient is placed on a soft food diet until the gum tissue heals. The second stage comes after the bone tissue heals. The process of the implant bonding with the bone is called osseointegration. Healing times vary from patient to patient. After the healing process is complete the replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Dental implant surgery is a complex process taking several visits from the initial dental CT Scan to when the final implants are placed. A Doctor of Dental surgery will be able to give the patient an accurate healing time schedule for implant surgery. This can very from immediate placement and restoration to waiting up to 9 months per for your final tooth replacement.

Cost Estimates for Dental Implants

As you can see, all dental implants are not created equal as well as dental costs for implants vary from clinic to clinic. There is no set charge for dental implant procedures. Each individual dental clinic can vary widely on diagnosis and cost. Because dental implants are expected to last many, many years – comparable to other titanium prosthetics devices (hip joints, etc), the expense can be multiple thousands of dollars. Only with a consultation with an implant trained Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) can you get a quote specific to your situation.

The replacement cost for a single tooth dental implant will also be influenced by the health and stability of the surrounding teeth. If the surrounding teeth around the implant require extraction the cost will be higher. Teeth extractions are the least expensive form of dentistry but can escalate in cost on an emergency basis and can jump up to $450 dollars per tooth. A bone graft may also be necessary before dental implant surgery is performed. If an individual lacks enough bone tissue, a DDS can perform a bone graft, using the patients bone tissue from another area of the jaw bone or even hip. Costs can escalate even more as more and more bone is lost. Additional costs can include x-rays or a CT scan. The healing time for bone grafts on average takes from 3 to 6 months to heal before implant surgery is performed.

After the implant bodies have healed in the bone, the foundation for the dental prosthetic is ready to go. Similar to a foundation on a house, the implants support the teeth. When replacing a single tooth, the abutment and a dental crown. The greater number of teeth that require replacement the higher the cost. Ultimately, if you are considering a dental implant to replace one or more missing teeth you are choosing a path of healthy lifetime dentistry. There may be a large up front expense but amortized over one’s lifetime, the cost of a dental implant can be a reasonable $100-200/year.

Sometimes the desire of the individual is to replace most or all of their teeth with an implant retained prosthesis. Usually these are people that HATE their teeth and have always struggled with loosing teeth over and over again. Dental work doesn’t last and each time they try something new. Instead of a tooth fix, these individuals require a system rebuild. In other words. The way there jaws meet together needs to be support mainly by dental implant supported prostheses. These include implant supported bridges that span a gap of missing teeth in a patient. Implant supported partial and complete dentures are another. Fixed appliances such as ALL-ON-FOUR and Teeth-in-a-Day dental treatments fall into this category as well. The more missing teeth the more expensive the procedure. partial or complete mouth dental replacement can cost as much as a small vehicle.

Be forewarned prospective patients with chronic immune system diseases like cancer and  osteoporosis are not good candidates for implants. People considering this extensive surgery should be in optimum health for quicker recovery times.

Our experience has been that 99% of people have undergone a dental implant procedure are blown away by how easy it is. If done correctly, implants have the highest success rate of any dental procedure but are dependent on osseointegration, the bonding of the metal to the bone. Consulting with a qualified Doctor of Dental Surgery who has spent additional time being trained in dental implantology will prevent corrections of improperly placed implants that will have to be replaced later on. Quality always wins the financial battle in the long term.

Insurance and Dental Implants

Dental implants are considered elective procedures by the majority of insurance companies in Canada. Consulting your individual health care insurance plan for coverage information is highly recommended. Some employee insurance companies may substitute part of the cost for dental implant surgery.

For patients who require dental implants you may want to consult with your dentist for individual payment plans and financing.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for and dental implantology can be very predictable and stable. However, many of the problems in implant dentistry is when people try to take short cuts and find the cheapest way to go. In 10-20 years from now, the health and function of the dental implants will be of primary importance. Let us help you get where you want to be.

As the owner of Peace Arch Dental Centre, in White Rock, BC, I received my implant training from the prestigious Pacific Implant Institute. I love providing implant dental solutions that work for people of all walks of life. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

About Dr. Michael Layton

Dr. Michael Layton - South Surrey Dentist, Dental ImplantsDr. Michael Layton (DDS) is the dentist for Peace Arch Dental, a dental office in the South Surrey/White Rock, B.C. area. He has been in the dental industry for the last decade and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. He takes pride in providing positive and caring dental solutions for people of every walk of life. You can follow him on Google+.