I recently went to the dentist, and it looks like I have a tooth that needs to be removed. My dentist is suggesting that I get an implant to replace the extracted tooth, but I’m not sure this is the right choice. I’ve heard some not-so-great things about implants, and I know they’re really expensive.
Are implants a good idea?
Whether or not you choose to get implants, it’s important to make sure that you follow up and go through with the tooth extraction. Going to the dentist can be uncomfortable and scary, but not taking care of the problem will only lead to bigger issues down the road.
Tooth extraction is actually very common. One in four adults lose all of the permanent teeth by the age of 74, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Dentists will recommend replacing the tooth to prevent the teeth from migrating and shifting. If the tooth is visible, you’ll almost certainly want to replace it. If the tooth is in the back of your mouth, you may be more reluctant to replace it.
When it comes to replacement, you have a few options:
- Fixed bridgework
Dentists often recommend implants because they are a permanent solution, and they’re also the most natural-looking solution.
But yes, the costs can high. Let’s say that you’re getting dental implants in Houston. You can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for a single implant. The abutment and crown will cost you an additional $500-$3,000.
Let’s talk about some of the benefits of implants before we get into the potential drawbacks and costs.
An implant consists of a screw or framework made of titanium which is meant to support a replacement tooth. Implantation is performed in several steps.
- The implant is anchored into the jawbone where the new tooth will be placed.
- Once the screw has fused with the bone (3-6 months later) a replacement tooth is attached to a small metal post that protrudes from the implant.
Because implants don’t rely on nearby teeth for support, implants are less damaging than bridges. Implants also replace the root of the tooth, so there’s no need to worry about bone loss.
Implants look, feel and behave just like a normal tooth.
While generally considered safe, there are some potential risks that need to be considered with implants. Surgery is required for the implantation process, and there are risks that come with any surgical procedure. Complications, including bleeding, sinus injuries, nerve injuries and infection are all possible.
Risks aside, implants take time. It’s a multi-step process, and you’ll need to wait up to six months for the implant to fuse with your jawbone.
Infections can still occur, and additional work may be needed if your jawbone is weakened for any reason.
Perhaps the biggest drawback with implants is the cost. Dental insurance typically does not cover implants. You can expect to pay several thousand dollars an implant. If you have multiple teeth that need to be replaced, you may be looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars.
With that said, implants are usually a safe and reliable option for adults. The surgery has a 90% success rate, and implants have been shown to greatly improve a person’s quality of life.