Whether you are the victim of an accident in which your teeth were broken or knocked out, or have lost teeth because of illness or genetic factors, you may very well benefit from dental implants.
A natural tooth is replaced with a realistic prosthesis made from ceramic in this surgery. While implantology is not for everyone and the costs can be high when done properly by an experienced dental surgeon, it is the most effective way to permanently replace missing teeth, having a proven success rate of 95%.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implant Surgery?
The best candidate for dental implants is a person who is in generally good health overall and practices good dental hygiene. People who use tobacco in any form will not benefit from implant surgery, and those who have had organ transplants and are taking immuno-suppressive prescription drugs should not have implants.
If you are a transplant patient or you have suffered from periodontal disease, talk to your dentists about implant alternatives that may be available to you.
How are Tooth Implants Done?
Obviously, you will go through a thorough dental exam and health evaluation before anything else. Once it is determined that you are a good candidate, the dentist will begin by drilling a tiny pilot hole in your jaw while you are under anesthesia. This hole is then gradually widened, using larger drill bits; the reason is to protect the bone tissue from damage.
A small titanium screw is then inserted into this hole to serve as the root for the prosthetic tooth. Titanium has a unique molecular structure that permits bone tissue to fuse with it, which is why it has been so useful in other kinds of bone surgery. Once the bone has had a chance to grow around this screw and hold it in place, you will return to receive the final prosthesis. Ceramic is the best choice for a number of reasons; although it seems fragile, it is actually quite strong – and resembles natural tooth material as well.
What Does a Dental Implant Cost?
Dental implants can run anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 apiece, depending on the part of the country, what tooth is being replaced and how complex the operation is. The main drawback is that the costs of implants are not usually covered by private dental insurance plans, so you will wind up paying out-of-pocket. Most dental business offices do offer some type of financing with easy monthly payment plans tailored to fit your budget.
History of Implants
One of the most interesting facts about dental implantation is that it is based on a very old technology that was developed in the New World almost a thousand years before the arrival of the first Europeans. Remains of a Mayan girl discovered in 1931 showed carved fragments of seashell had been inserted into her jaw where teeth had gone missing. Later tests showed that these prosthetic teeth had been placed there during her lifetime.
Modern dental implants were developed in the 1950s as part of research into the surgical uses of titanium, and have been available in the U.S. since 1970.