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3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A Dental Implant

You don't want to walk around with missing teeth, and you don't have to. While there are alternatives for replacing missing teeth, dental implants offer the most durable results. If you are considering a dental implant to replace your missing tooth, make sure to ask yourself these three questions first.

Are You a Good Candidate for A Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a major oral procedure, so the first requirement for being a good candidate is having good overall health, so your body can heal appropriately. If you do have a medical condition, such as diabetes, you'll need to get it under control before beginning the procedure. However, beyond that, you need to have good oral health, which may be something you already struggle with if you have missing teeth.

You should have an adequate amount of jaw bone to hold the implant in place. Depending on how long your tooth has been missing, your bone may have shrunk too much to support an implant. In this case, however, the dentist can perform a bone graft to add volume. Your gums should also be healthy. In particular, you should be free of gum disease or have your gum disease under control. Although implants can't rot, the gums around them can develop peri-implant disease, causing the bone to deteriorate further and the implant to fail. This is also why a commitment to good oral hygiene after the procedure is a must.

Can You Afford a Dental Implant vs. Alternative Options?

There are many different options to replace missing teeth, including dentures and bridges. While they aren't as durable or long-lasting as a dental implant, they are less expensive options. A full set of dentures can cost between $300 and $8000, depending on the quality. A dental bridge costs between $500 and $1,200 for each artificial tooth. The cost of a dental implant and the necessary crown costs about $4250, but that doesn't include a bone graft.

However, you shouldn't just consider the initial cost. Consider the long-term cost too. With proper care, a dental implant can actually last you the rest of your life, so you never need to replace it. Dentures and bridges don't last forever, so you'll need to replace them at least once. This means that while the short term cost for an implant is more than other options, the long-term cost may be less.

Are You Prepared for a Long, Slow Procedure?

The dental implant procedure doesn't just cost more, it takes longer too. There are several steps in the implant procedure. First, the dentist must extract the tooth. If the tooth has been missing for some time, obviously this step can be skipped. However, depending on how long your tooth has been missing, your jawbone may have atrophied, requiring you to undergo a bone graft. Next, the dentist places the implant in your jaw. The last step requires the dentist to cut open your gum and reveal the implant to place the crown on top.

These steps cannot be done all in one visit or even within a few weeks. In order for the area to completely heal between stages, you must wait months before moving on to the next step. Luckily, unless you need a major bone graft, each visit in the dental implant process doesn't last long. In fact, placing the actual implant usually takes less than an hour.

Stop struggling with a smile you hate. A dental implant is a great way to replace missing teeth, but be prepared for a high bill and long treatment process. For more information about dental implants, contact a local cosmetic dentist or prosthodontist today and schedule your consultation to start the conversation.