Facts and Stats

In the past, if you wanted to restore your smile, your choices were bridges, dentures, or veneers. These are still great options, but now there is a new kid on the block – dental implants.

So, what’s the story about dental implants? Well, here are a few facts and stats about dental implants to help us get started:

  • 15 million Americans use bridges and crowns to replace missing teeth
  • Approximately 3 million Americans have dental implants and 500,000 more are choosing implants each year
  • The demand for dental implants in America and Europe is increasing, estimated to reach $4.2 billion by 2022
  • 98% of implants are successful
  • The dental implant market in America will reach approximately $6.4 billion by 2018

But one of the most noticeable things about dental implants (aside from the smile) is that they are a big investment. So, we created this Dental Implant Guide containing everything you need to know about implants.

Different Types of Dental Implants

Dental implants are a popular option for many consumers who are looking to restore their smiles. In fact, per the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) 3 million people have implants and this figure is growing by a half a million each year. 

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, shaped like screws that are inserted into your jawbone. They are made of a material (titanium) that bonds well with your own bone. There are two types of implants: endosteal and subperiosteal.

Endosteal – This is the most common type of implant, as it is placed in the bone. This implant comes in the shape of cylinders, blades and screws. It is normally used for patients that have removable dentures or bridges. 

Subperiosteal – This type of dental implant is placed on the bone. The posts from its metal framework comes through the gum to help anchor the artificial tooth that’s placed on the implant. This option is recommended for patients that do not have dentures as an option, or who may be lacking the minimum bone height needed.

In addition to understanding the different types of implants, be aware of your cost coverage options as well. Without dental insurance, this procedure can be up to thousands of dollars. What’s more is that only some plans cover this procedure. So, it’s important to find a comprehensive dental plan that will lower your out of pocket cost.

5 Reasons People Get Dental Implants

Natural, real, or as close to it as possible. This is one of the great advantages of living in the 21st century. Technology allows us to regrow, replace and restore things, like our smile, in a way that looks natural. While many have used crowns and bridges to replace a missing or damaged tooth, currently about 3 million people have dental implants.

Here are a few reasons people get dental implants: 

  • Looks and feels natural – People select dental implants because they look and feel like natural teeth.
  • Eating without fear – Dental implants are solidly anchored into the jawbone, which makes it easy to chew or eat things that may be harder to do with other restorations, such as dentures.
  • Clear speech – When you get a bridge or denture, sometimes for a while, it can affect the way you speak and pronounce certain words. Dental implants allow you to speak clearly and enunciate your words as you were able to do before the procedure.  
  • Can last a lifetime – Because they are not natural teeth, implants don’t decay and with proper oral care, can last a lifetime.
  • Preserves nearby teeth – Unlike getting a bridge, it is not necessary to shave down or adjust nearby natural teeth in order place an implant.


Can Anyone get Dental Implants?

If you’re reading this page, it’s likely that you are trying to decide if you are a good candidate for a dental implant. Maybe your dentist recommended this procedure to replace a missing tooth or one that will be extracted soon. Maybe you are self-conscious about your smile and want a solution that looks as natural as possible.

Ultimately, your dental provider is the best person to let you know if this is a good option for you.  In the meantime, it's helpful to understand that there are conditions that contribute to the success of an implant. Here are three:

Bone Support

It is important that you have enough bone to support the implant. Both bone density and bone quality are important considerations because of the nature of implant surgery. A metal screw, made of bio-compatible titanium is being inserted deep into the jaw bone, like the root of a tooth. Be sure to talk with your dentist who will be able to advise. Plus, he or she will be able to share information about additional procedures that can address bone issues and more.

Good Oral and Overall Health

Having good oral and overall health is important to your dental implant’s success. Oral health issues like  gum disease can result in inflammation that negatively affects the tooth’s supporting bone and gums. Medical conditions like osteoporosis can affect osseointegration, which is the process of bonding that takes place with the dental implant and the surrounding bone. 

Absence of Bruxism

If you have bruxism, or teeth grinding, it means you clench or grind your tooth during the days and night, without realizing it. Bruxism has many negative effects on your natural teeth including wearing down the tooth’s protective layer (the enamel), cracking or fracturing teeth and teeth sensitivity. They have similar effects on implants.

But keep in mind that even if you aren't the picture perfect candidate, implants can still be an option for you. If you are considering the procedure but aren't sure if you're a good fit, make sure to consult with your dentist - they are here to help you!

What Happens During a Dental Implant Procedure?

Getting dental implants for the firs time can be scary. The process may make you anxious because you don’t know what happens during the implant procedure. Let's break down step-by-step what will happen during the procedure so you know what to expect and understand what your dentist will be doing.

Step 1 – Extraction of the tooth

If the tooth is not already missing, it will need to be extracted to make space for the implant.

Step 2 – Jawbone Preparation

Steps are then taken to prepare your jawbone for surgery. This phase may involve a procedure called bone grafting, which entails using special bone grafting material or bone from another part of your body. The patient may have to allow a few months of healing before taking the next step.

Step 3 – Plant the Implant

Once the site heals, the dental provider will cut the gum over the area where the implant will be placed. Then, he or she will drill holes there and insert the implant post deep into the jawbone. Over time, your bone bonds with the surface of the implant. This process is called osseointegration. To temporarily fill the gap as the area heals, some patients choose to have a partial denture made.

Step 4 – Let the healing begin!

Getting an implant is a process and not a sprint. This process is interspersed with months of healing so be prepared for that.

Step 5 – Abutment Placement

An abutment is placed on top of the implant post. It serves as a connector between the implant and the artificial tooth that will be placed on it. To attach it if it was not done at the time of the implant, the dental provider will reopen the gum above the implant. The surrounding tissue is positioned around the abutment and yes, as you may have guessed…more healing.

Step 6 – Crowning Day

Once the implant is secure, your dental provider will then make impressions of your remaining teeth and mouth and then make a crown for the implant that resembles your natural teeth. This artificial tooth, or teeth if you are getting an implant bridge, is then placed on the abutment after the soft tissue heals.

Step 7 – More Healing

A lot has happened to your mouth; so, naturally, there may be discomfort, including pain, where the implant was inserted. Some bleeding, swelling of the gums, face, and bruising of the skin will probably occur. To lower the discomfort, some patients eat soft foods for a time, which can result in losing a few pounds in the process.

Keep in mind these steps are for traditional implants. If your dentist is using a different treatment plan, such as one day implants, your procedure will go through these steps a bit differently. If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming implant procedure, make sure to consult with your dentist or oral surgeon for the specifics of your appointment.

Who Does Dental Implants?

Whether you have worked for a company or for yourself, you know how important it is to get the right person for the job. It’s the same with your teeth. If you plan on getting dental implants, you must find the right dental provider. This procedure can be done by a general dentist with additional implant training, an oral surgeon or a periodontist. The crown, bridge or denture that’s put on the implant can be made by your dentist or a prosthodontist.

Here’s a quick summary of each implant professional:

General Dentists with Implant Training:  These dentists have finished dental school and have received extra training on how to perform an implant surgery. They also have access to ongoing education courses through different organizations including the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Taking these classes allows them to keep their skills sharp and to stay on top of industry trends.

Periodontists: This specialist focuses on placing and fixing dental implants. They also treat severe gum disease and inflammation in the mouth. After dental school, a periodontist spends three more years getting even more training in these areas. Periodontists perform different services including cosmetic periodontal procedures, scaling and root planing.

Oral Surgeon: An oral surgeon concentrates on correcting dental issues involving the face, mouth and jaws. After four years of dental school, they spend another four years being trained on general surgery, emergency medicine, and anesthesiology methods. These dentists also focus on removing teeth, dental implants, jaw surgery, clef lip, and palate surgery.

Knowing who does dental implants is one thing. Knowing how you can save when you select this option to restore your smile is just as important. Get a dental plan that provides coverage for implants, and smile all the way to the bank.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Implants?

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so what happens when you break or lose a tooth, and it's not an easy fix? When you lose a tooth as a result of injury, periodontal disease or another reason, dental implants can help bring your smile back.

While dental implants are a great long-term solution to replace missing teeth, they can be costly, which begs the question of whether your insurance plan offers dental implant coverage.

Does dental insurance cover implants?

The advantages of implants are clear, but they come at a high price. Single tooth implant procedures can cost up to $4,000. Smart shopper tip--Dental insurance coverage for implants can vary so if this is an important feature for you, be sure to ask about it when shopping for a dental plan. Some good questions to ask are:

  • Does this dental plan include dental implant coverage?
  • Does the implant coverage under this dental insurance plan have set co-pays or discounts only? (Set co-pays are the better choice because it offers greater cost protection and savings)
  • Is there an additional cost for the implant coverage under this dental plan?

Take the time to research the options and pick the best one for your situation—and your smile. If you're struggling to figure out what kind of insurance plan will work for you, check out our FREE  dental plan quiz below! 

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