What are Dental Implants?
Missing teeth can rob us of our self-confidence, cause pain while eating, and prevent us from eating a healthy variety of foods. Fortunately, there are solutions for fixing missing and damaged teeth, the best of which is dental implants.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth replacement that deliver the best outcomes available. They offer unequaled stability and security, restore bite force, eliminate jaw pain, and prevent bone loss in the jawbones. They also look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Dental implants deliver these results because they’re placed directly into the solid bone of the jaw. On top of these artificial roots sit connectors called abutments that join an artificial tooth crown to the implanted root, producing a functioning prosthetic tooth identical in fit and function to a natural tooth.
In the dental implant process, a doctor opens gum tissues at the implantation site, allowing access to the bone. Next, the doctor drills small holes into the bone and installs small metal posts made of biocompatible surgical-grade titanium, the same metal used in joint replacements.
Over several months, the bone will fuse to the titanium dental implant posts, in a process called osseointegration. Once the implant posts are firmly integrated into the bone, your oral surgeon will place a crown on top of an abutment, which connects the crown securely to the implant posts.
There are several types of dental implants, each designed for a specific need. They all have bone-implanted titanium posts, abutments, and zirconia crowns, and each type of dental implant offers stability and durability.
There are 3 types of permanent dental implants. They are the:
- Single Dental Implant
- Implant-supported Dental Bridge
- 4-on-1 Full Mouth Dental implants
As its name suggests, a single tooth implant replaces one missing tooth. Unlike other forms of tooth replacement, a single dental implant will stop the loss of bone tissue in the jaw and fully preserve the health of the teeth surrounding it. A single dental implant also perfectly reproduces the look, fit, and functioning of a real tooth. The average price for a single dental implant runs from $3,500 to $6,000.
How is a Single Dental Implant Installed?
The process for placing a single dental implant is straightforward. First, if any part of the original tooth remains, the oral surgeon will extract it. Next, the oral surgeon opens the gum tissue at the location of the implant site, then drills a small hole into the jawbone. A titanium screw post is placed directly into the hole, and over time, the screw implant will fuse to the bone in a process called osseointegration. This titanium implant rod replicates the functions of a natural tooth root.
A connector called an abutment is placed on top of the implant and will help join the artificial tooth, called a crown, to the implant post. Only the crown will be visible to others when you smile or open your mouth.
Dental implants are made of titanium, a biologically inert material that’s compatible with the living bone and gum tissue of the mouth. It’s also very durable and able to easily withstand the pressures involved in biting and chewing.
The dental implant crown can be made from porcelain or zirconia. Although porcelain is a strong material, it cannot compare to the durability of zirconia, a tough, long-lasting material that looks and functions like a natural tooth. Zirconia is resistant to wear and tear and requires no special care other than brushing and flossing. At America’s First Dental Implant Centers, we only use zirconia for the longest-lasting artificial tooth available.
Like other types of dental implants, a single dental implant is permanent.
Who is a Candidate for Single Dental Implants?
Anyone who has a single missing or damaged tooth in need of replacement is a candidate for single dental implants. However, if you’re missing more than one tooth in a row, other dental implant options like bridge and 4-on-1 full arch dental implants may be more suitable and cost-effective.
An implant-supported dental bridge replaces more than one tooth but not all teeth on an arch. For example, if you need 3 or 4 teeth in a row, an implant-supported dental bridge could be a good choice. An implant-supported dental bridge costs from $6,000 to $10,000.
An implant-supported dental bridge has several advantages over a traditional dental bridge. Implant-supported dental bridges don’t require any changes to healthy teeth. As well, they offer matchless stability and security that’s not found in any other type of artificial teeth.
In contrast, traditional dental bridges on natural teeth require a person to have healthy teeth surrounding the missing teeth. Those healthy teeth must then be ground down to fit the bridge-supporting crowns, which harms these teeth.
The implant-supported dental bridge process takes several appointments. The first step is a consultation with your doctor, who will evaluate your oral health and create a treatment plan.
The second step is the placement of the dental implants. During this appointment, your doctor will place you under IV sedation anesthesia. Next, gum tissue at the implantation sites will be opened and bone tissue exposed. Your doctor will then drill small holes into the bone tissue and place the titanium implant rods into those holes. They will work just like natural tooth roots.
After about 3 months of healing, you will return to your doctor’s office. Your permanent implant-supported dental bridge will be installed then on top of the implants.
At America’s First Dental Implant Centers, the process of getting an implant-supported dental bridge is painless because we only work with oral surgeons. Only oral surgeons have the training and experience to provide IV sedation, which allows you to sleep comfortably through the entire procedure.
Doctors who are not oral surgeons cannot provide IV sedation, which means the process will take longer and be painful, as the dentist will have to inject more painkiller into mouth throughout the surgery. Without IV sedation, you’ll be awake and alert throughout the entire procedure.
Anyone who is missing three or more adjacent teeth is likely a good candidate for implant-supported bridge.
4-on-1 Full Mouth Dental Implants – For Replacing All Teeth
4-on-1 full mouth dental implants (also known as Teeth-in-a-Day, full arch, All-on-X) allow an entire arch of teeth to be replaced using only 4 dental implants. With 4 dental implants in the upper jaw and 4 in the lower jaw, an entire mouthful of teeth—12 to 14 teeth per arch—can be replaced in a single surgical procedure that takes about 2 to 3 hours per arch.
The 4-on-1 full arch dental implant process allows an oral surgeon to give a patient a full mouth of new teeth by using the latest in dental implant technology coupled with advanced training. The national average for an 4-on-1 all-on-X arch is $25,000 – $40,000. At America’s First, we specialize in 4-on-1 dental implants and are able to offer it as an affordable price of $14,950/arch, which is backed by our lowest price guarantee and quality warranty.
When you have many missing or damaged teeth, or are suffering from periodontal disease, or gum disease, replacing all your teeth with 4-on-1 full arch dental implants can be the most cost-effective and time-efficient choice.
Removing damaged or diseased teeth can also prevent infection from spreading into the jawbones.
4-on-1 Full Mouth Dental Implant Process
The 4 on 1 full mouth dental implant process takes approximately 3 months and follows similar procedures as an implant-supported dental bridge. On the first visit, your doctor will take x-ray and 3D-CT scans of your mouth to make your treatment plan. Your doctor will detail the process for you, let you know what to expect, and answer any questions you might have.
The 4 on 1 full mouth dental implant procedure takes place at your next visit. If you go to an oral surgeon, you’ll be placed under IV sedation anesthesia, ensuring the surgery will be painless. Next, the oral surgeon will open the gum tissue at the implantation site, exposing the bone. Titanium posts are placed into the bone, then the opened gum tissue is closed. The procedure is then repeated for the rest of the implants.
Healing the 4 on 1 Full Mouth Dental Implant
For a full arch implant, over the subsequent 3 months post-surgery, your jawbone will fuse with the titanium implants, allowing a complete full arch dental restoration on only 4 implants. After this healing process, you will receive your permanent teeth (which are made up of zirconia).
Who is a Candidate for 4 on 1 Full Mouth Dental Implants?
Anyone who wants to replace a full arch of teeth is a candidate for a 4-on-1 full arch dental implant. Anyone who is currently wearing dentures is also a candidate for a 4-on-1 dental implants. In rare cases, a person may need a dental bone graft to build up bone mass if they’ve experienced significant bone loss or thinning.
From our experience, in many situations where there are multiple missing or damaged teeth, the 4-on-1 dental implant treatment is a better choice. It’s more cost-effective than the piecemeal replacement of missing teeth and the process takes the same amount of time as an implant-supported bridge.
Another benefit of full arch dental implants is that they stop bone loss in the jaws. When a tooth is pulled or falls out, the roots are no longer present to stimulate the nerves and blood vessels inside the living bone of the jaw. Our bodies then dissolved the calcium of the bones, a process called resorption.
Resorption causes a person’s remaining teeth to shift out of alignment, leading to the skin on the face sagging. The titanium posts of 4-on-1 dental implants work just like natural tooth roots, stimulating the bone tissue of the jaws, which stops resorption and prevents any further bone loss.
All dental implants are made with titanium posts, but the crown/bridge may be made of one of several materials, including:
- Acrylic. Acrylic crowns are made of a soft plastic-like material that is easy to break and becomes increasingly fragile over time. Acrylic is also prone to becoming discolored. It’s also vulnerable to abrasion.
- Porcelain. Porcelain is stronger than acrylic but is still vulnerable to chipping.
- Zirconia. Zirconia is the most durable, natural-feeling, and longest-lasting of all materials used for dental crowns. In all ways, zirconia is superior to any other
Titanium is a strong, lightweight, and biocompatible metal that’s also used in joint replacement surgeries, like hip and knee replacements
Zirconia is used to make the only visible part of dental implants, the crown. It’s a durable material that can last a lifetime. With zirconia crowns, you’ll be able to eat anything you want.
2. Is there a difference in the quality of dental implants?
4-on-1 dental implants, implant-supported bridges, and single tooth dental implants are all made using durable titanium metal posts. Crowns can be made of acrylic, porcelain, or zirconia, with zirconia being the most durable option.
In contrast, traditional bridges and dentures, including implant-supported snap-in dentures, are made from acrylic, a porous material that becomes fragile and brittle over time.
Acrylic dentures also require special care and are prone to painful slippage. They also must be replaced or relined every five years.
3. What are the costs of dental implants
A single dental implant costs from $3,500 to $6,000. On average, implant-supported bridges cost $6,000-$10,000. The national average cost for a single arch of 4-on-1 full arch dental implants runs from $25,000 to $40,000, but at America’s First Dental Implant Centers, we deliver an entire 4-on-1 full arch replacement for $14,950. This price is all-inclusive and covers all appointments and procedures.
We are able to offer this low price because our oral surgeons are experts in the 4-on-1 full arch dental implant procedure and have placed over 5,000 full arch dental implants.
4. What is the most cost-effective dental implant?
If you have several missing teeth, an implant-supported bridge or 4-on-1 dental implants are going to be the most cost-effective solution for a new smile. Consider that the cost of every single dental implant runs from $3,500 to $6,000, which makes replacing one tooth at a time much more expensive than it needs to be.
If you have 2 to 4 teeth in a row that are missing, but otherwise have healthy teeth and gums, an implant-supported bridge will be a less expensive option than multiple single dental implants, but the all-around most cost-effective choice is 4-on-1 full arch dental implants.
Over time, 4-on-1 dental implants are cheaper than snap-in dentures. Snap-in dentures cost from $2,500 to $5,000 per arch—not including adjustments, follow-ups, or prosthetic teeth. The prosthetic (artificial) teeth must be replaced every five years, at a cost of $2,500 to $5,000.
America’s First Dental Implant Centers offers an entire full arch replacement for $14,950, all-inclusive, including all appointments and procedures.
5. Who performs dental implant surgery?
Although dentists may perform dental implant surgery, they are not formally trained in dental surgery and don’t have the training and expertise to administer IV sedation. IV sedation makes the surgery painless. Without IV sedation, a patient is awake and will feel the injections of local anesthesia.
That’s why the expertise, experience, and training of doctors matter. Oral surgeons have specific training in performing surgical procedures. They’re also trained to administer IV sedation, whereas dentists are not. Because of their high degree of expertise and ability to give IV sedation, America’s First Dental Implant Centers only works with oral surgeons.
6. How long do dental implants last?
When properly placed, dental implants can last a lifetime. At America’s First Dental Implant Centers, we use the highest quality implant materials and implants (titanium and zirconia), the best technology, and work with oral surgeons. At AFDIC, the failure rate of dental implants is less than 1%, compared to the national average of 5% to 10%.