This page goes in to detail about dental implants; what is a dental implant, the benefits of a dental implant, how much does a dental implant cost and more. If you’re interested in full-mouth restoration, visit our All-on-4 Procedure (non-removable dentures) page.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a cylindrical post-inserted into the jawbone at the gum line that replaces the root of missing teeth, and which serves as the base for a replacement tooth. The procedure allows replacement of natural teeth with a crown or bridge. Using a man-made material such as titanium, the dental implant can bond to the bone below the gum line, and form a site for a dental substitute to be attached. It typically takes four to six months for a dental implant to bond to the bone, and only then can the restoration tooth be attached. Once the dental implant is placed, the natural tendency of the body is to “osseointegrate”, or accept and bond the dental implant to the bone in preparation for a dental crown, a bridge, or a denture.
To facilitate the attachment of replacement teeth, a small connector called an abutment is placed on the dental implant once healing and bonding is complete. The abutment is attached to the dental implant and serves as the base for the prosthetic dental component, which is then either cemented or screwed in for its final placement. To make the new tooth (or teeth), the dentist takes impressions of our natural teeth, and then uses that to determine the shape and placement of the replacement tooth.
What are the Benefits of a Dental Implant?
Dental implants can be for a single tooth, multiple teeth, or as a structure to attach dentures. Dental Implants can improve appearance, help speech, increase comfort, help chewing and digestion, and improve overall oral health. Dental implants are more durable. While natural teeth are susceptible to decay which can lead to root canals and other dental intervention, dental implants are metal, and do not decay or need root canals. The dental implant procedure usually takes two or three visits.
In some areas in the U.S., dental implants can be expensive. According to a survey of dental implants in New Mexico, dental implants ranged from $2000 to $5000 (excluding abutment and crown). As a result, patients searching for affordable dental implants are looking at other options like Mexico. As we’ll discuss below, there are options for finding cheap dental implants in close proximity to border states like Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico that are both safe and of high quality, if you know which dental clinic to go to.
How Much do Dental Implants Cost?
It is difficult to say with precision what dental implants cost. In general, prices are based on the dental office location, what’s included in the procedure (besides the implant), the quality of material, and other factors such as special offers.
As mentioned earlier, no two patients are exactly alike, and the cost, number of appointments, and approach to restoration can vary. According to realself.com, an online website that makes doctors available for questions, costs for dental implants can be up to $4000, but other websites such as perio.org quote the cost of dental implants as high as $7500 when the crown is included. Obviously, people who need a number of teeth replaced with dental implants may be facing hefty costs. As a result, they’re often looking for cheap dental implants, or putting off treatment altogether.
In recent years, thousands of people have turned to dental tourism to find affordable dental implants. With the emergence of dental tourism companies, like Beyond Borders Dental, people have access to high-quality, low-cost dental implants, in Mexico. In fact, dental implants in Mexico can be up to 75% cheaper implants than can be found in the U.S.
People often ask why dental implants in Mexico are much less expensive than in the U.S. Does this mean the quality is less, or the materials inferior? This is not the case. In fact, the dentists in Mexico use the same materials and products as used in American dental clinics. A Washington DC based health advocacy group found that 90% of people receiving treatment in Mexico rated their experience either “good” or “excellent”. That matched satisfaction with U.S. dentists.
Cheap dental implants in Mexico are also the result of a Mexican education system that allows dentists to receive subsidized or free education in return for community service upon graduation. So dentists in Mexico do not leave school with $150,000 to $200,000 in student loans to repay as American dentists do. In addition, both rents and staff are much less expensive for the dentists in Mexico. While dentists may earn upwards of $150,000 a year in the U.S., Mexico dentists generally earn $30,000 to $50,000, making affordable dental implants available with the same quality as American dentists.
Dental insurance doesn’t generally cover dental implants, although more plans cover the procedure than in the past. Some reports suggest that there may be coverage available through a patient’s medical plan. But affordable dental implants in Mexico can usually save a patient more money than getting implants in the U.S., even with insurance coverage.
Who Needs Dental Implants and What Are the Risks?
Anyone who has lost one or more teeth may be a candidate for dental implants. When a tooth is lost, the alveolar bone (the sac-like bone structure that holds the natural teeth) begins to deteriorate. In time, even the basal bone beneath the alveolar bone—the jawbone itself—begins to disappear. This causes a variety of aesthetic and functional problems that can be addressed through dental implants. Dental implants can stop this process and preserve the remaining bone structure.
However, as WebMD notes, patients should have gums that are healthy enough to accept the dental implant, and that usually means a reasonable home dental health regimen has been followed. People who are heavy smokers, or who have chronic health challenges such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer (especially if they’ve received radiation to the head), need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Complications can arise from dental implants, although not often. There can be nerve injury, infection, and failure of the implant to bond to the bone. However, depending on where the dental implants are placed, and personal habits of tobacco chewing, smoking, and home care, most dental implants will last a lifetime, with success rates up to 98% according to WebMD Oral Health Guide article. Patients receiving dental implants report little pain or discomfort associated with the procedure, and in most cases, a mild pain-reliever such as Motrin is usually adequate. No two cases are exactly the same, so our Mexico dentist will carefully assess your needs, and can provide affordable dental implants in Mexico.
What is Bone Grafting for Dental Implants?
When there isn’t enough bone in the area of a missing tooth, a bone graft procedure may be necessary in order to support a dental implant. The bone comes from four different sources:
- Auto-graft-from one’s own bone
- Allograft-someone else’s donor bone
- Xenograft-animal bone from cow, pig, or horse
- Alloplast-chemical bone substitute
Auto-grafting is very involved and rarely done, but the surgeon will decide what is best, and sometimes, a patient’s preference will be weighed in as well. The bone graft does more than replace missing bone, it stimulates new bone growth. Sometimes, one’s own blood is drawn so that their platelet rich plasma (PRP) can be used to accelerate healing. The entire regenerative process generally takes four to six months.
Are there Different Types of Dental Implants?
According to perio.org, the most common type of dental implant is Endosteal meaning “in the bone”. Metal material is placed into the jawbone to hold the prosthetic teeth. Subperiosteal implants are “on the bone”, and part of the dental implant protrudes through the gum. The latter approach works better for patients having issues with conventional dentures, or those who have significant bone loss.
If you’re interested in getting a no-obligation, complementary dental treatment estimate for your individual case, click this link to send us your inquiry and we’ll get back to you.