Dental Implants

Dentists can restore a great smile by replacing missing teeth with dental implants that are custom fit and designed to last a lifetime.

Could you please give an overview of what dental implants are and what types are available?

Dr. John Vitale: So, in layman’s terms, a dental implant is like a plug or a molly that you place in an upper jaw or a lower jaw. We screw them in after we make the initial preparations to allow them to fit properly. And on top of those implants, we are able to screw in what we call an abutment or a piece of metal that comes out above the gum tissue. And then on top of that, we’re able to place a crown. And there are different types of implants and the different types basically are different implants that have different lengths and others that have different widths. So basically, all implants are the same with the exception of the length of the implant or the thickness or the width of the implant.

What is the process for getting a dental implant? Can you get more than one at a time?

Dr. John Vitale: Depending on how many implants you get, the process is very simple. For the placement of a single implant, you could either do a 3D scan on a person, or you can take a periapical x-ray if you are competent enough of the surrounding tissues and bone, and yes, you can do more than one implant at a time. I’ve done as many as eight in one visit.

How much does the average dental implant cost and does dental insurance cover the cost?

Dr. John Vitale: Dental implants range in price. For the implant itself, from $1,500 to $2,200, depending on the severity and the difficulty of getting the implant in. And there are some insurances that do pay a percentage of the total cost for the placement of an implant. There are a number of insurance companies, however, that do not.

Will a dental implant last a lifetime, or will it need to be replaced at some point?

If an implant is properly placed with adequate bone around it, and the patient who receives the implant does a good job of keeping the area clean, you can keep that implant in your mouth probably for the rest of your life. Again, it’s like anything else, if you don’t take care of it, it’s not going to last. If you do take care of it, it certainly will.

If someone chooses not to get an implant, can you describe the other options available to replace a missing tooth.

Dr. John Vitale: Depending on where the tooth is located and how many teeth are missing, we do have options. If it’s one tooth, you can replace that one tooth with a fixed bridge. And the fixed bridge would be placed by preparing the tooth in front of the space and behind the space, taking an impression and having a porcelain bridge cemented in your mouth. A cheaper way to go would be to have a removable prosthetic device, either a Valplast one tooth partial, or a partial with wires and clasps.

So, to answer your question, yes, there are options available depending on the individual and the individual’s preferences. You could either go with an implant or a bridge.

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