Frequently Asked Questions About Implants
Features & Benefits
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are a substitute tooth root. They serve the same function as your natural tooth root, to provide a base for a tooth. Implants also preserve bone from atrophy while providing a stable foundation for a prosthetic tooth, known as a dental crown. Your new crown will have the appearance, feel and function of your natural tooth.
Dental implants are a dental device that is made of titanium. We, at The Arizona Institute for Periodontics & Dental Implants, use titanium because it is a biocompatible material used by doctors regularly in orthopedic implants.
How do dental implants compare to other dental work including: bridges, partials and dentures?
Dental implant treatment has a better long-term prognosis than other methods of tooth replacement. Traditional treatments including bridges, partials or dentures are frequently replaced, adjusted, or damaged. Additionally, since dental implants prevent the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are removed or lost, this process helps preserve the natural appearance of your smile.
We have also found implants to be a better option because unlike bridges or partials, implants do not compromise the long-term health of your adjacent teeth. We do not need to remove portions of healthy teeth to place a bridge, and no hooks such as those on removable partial dentures that can cause healthy teeth to become loose. Additionally, Dr. Davis has found that dentures and partials accelerate the bone resorption process, giving patients the appearance of premature aging in their facial shape.
What will my new implant with a crown on top look like?
Your new dental implant with a crown placed on top will have the appearance, the feel and the function of your other natural teeth. Additionally, since dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that prevents bone resorption, the long-term aesthetics are much better in the long run than with any other treatment option.
Procedures & Home Care
Am I a candidate for dental implant treatment?
A majority of our patients who are missing one or more teeth are candidates for dental implants. There are a few conditions that we have found to undermine successful implant treatment. These include:
How long is the process to receive a dental implant?
Treatment time varies largely depending on each situation. We have patients who receive their replacement teeth on the same day as surgery, and patients who may need to wait several months due to other factors. A significant amount of time goes into the treatment planning prior to implant placement. Dr. Davis will work with your individual situation to create a treatment plan based on your needs.
Is the placement of my dental implant painful?
With the advancements in modern medicine, we have found that most patients report the discomfort to be far less than they expected. It has been reported to feel very much like having a tooth extracted, meaning a feeling of pressure, but again, our patients are well anesthetized. Although every patient is different as is everyone's pain tolerance. Most of our patients report simply taking an over the counter pain medication after the placement of their dental implant.
How do I take care of my dental implant?
Dr. Davis will discuss what kind of home care is best based on each individual patient. It will vary depending on the type of implant-supported dental treatment you had. For example, a single implant-supported crown is recommended to be cleaned like your natural teeth. Patients who received an implant-supported bridge need to clean it like tooth-supported bridges, brushing and flossing with a floss threader. Patients who are missing all of their teeth, and now only have implants, will want to use a Waterpik.
In all situations, we recommend all patients see Dr. Davis and his hygienist at least twice each year. Your office visits, along with proper home care, are essential to the long-term success of implant treatment.
How long will my implants last?
Documented clinical research, along with Dr. Davis' experience, demonstrates that dental implant treatment has a long-term success rate of 95-98%. This is a very high success rate, and it is much better than the success rates of other dental treatments including tooth-supported bridges, partials, or full dentures.
Dr. Davis' intention for his patients is that their dental implants are permanent. However, we recognize that many factors contribute to the long-term success of implant treatment. Factors including home care and regular maintenance visits to our office greatly lengthen the success rate.
Comparatively, research shows the lifespan of dental bridges is 10 years and the lifespan of partials and dentures are about 5 years.
Do dental implants ever fail?
Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in the medical-dental field. Patients have experienced very few problems with them. Documented success rates are over 95%. Although Dr. Davis has seen high success, there are rare occasions where the bone does not completely bond to the implants. When this occurs, new implants are placed, and the success rates for the replacement implants are even higher.
Costs & Insurance
What is the cost of implant treatment?
We believe that an investment in dental implants is an investment in your overall health, your appearance and your well-being. We are preserving the integrity of your facial structures, replacing missing teeth, and improving what you can eat, your jaw alignment, your speech, and your appearance. Don't forget, from eating, speaking, and smiling, you use your mouth continuously every day!
When considering the actual cost of implant treatment, we have to consider many factors including the number of missing teeth being replaced, the type of implant-supported teeth (treatment option) recommended and whether additional procedures are necessary to achieve the proper aesthetic and functional result.
There is no set cost for each implant. The fees are calculated based on the amount of time Dr. Davis anticipates spending to complete treatment (implant placement, other surgical procedures, fabrication of replacement teeth, etc), as well as the estimated cost of implants and other components and materials necessary to complete treatment, and dental laboratory fees.
The costs are comparable to other methods of tooth replacement, and the long-term implant treatment is generally more cost effective than other options, such as bridges, partials and dentures, which need to be replaced every 5-10 years.
Is dental implant treatment covered by dental insurance?
There are major limitations on most dental insurance plans. Insurance coverage of implant treatment depends on the individual policy. However, it is rare to receive any substantial coverage. Since the benefit coverage is determined strictly by the amount spent on the policy.
Most plans are designed to cover routine maintenance. The insurance companies use statistical data to determine the most common procedures submitted on claims, and then they set their own 'usual and customary fee' schedule for these procedures. They also determine the specific restrictions and limitations for each plan. Because the plans are only intended to cover minimal care, there is an annual maximum benefit of $1,000-$1,500 on most plans.
Talk to your insurance agent. Many companies now include implants as a covered benefit, but there are still a few that do not. Some companies will pay the same benefit they would cover for the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures). Even if an individual policy includes implants as a covered benefit, the benefit is still limited to the annual maximum offered by the policy.
Does medical insurance cover implant treatment?
Medical coverage is very rare. There are a few cases where medical insurance is available for people who are missing all of their teeth, and as a result, have medical complications. This type of coverage depends solely on the individual policy. Work-related injuries and other types of accidents are the other cases that are sometimes covered by insurance. Medicare does not cover implant treatment. All in all, it is best to assume that there is no medical insurance coverage available.
For more information on dental implants, contact The Arizona Institute for Periodontics & Dental Implants at our Sun City West, AZ location at (623) 584-0664.
Leslie I. Davis, BDS, DDS, PC
13802 W Camino del Sol Suite 103
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486
Phone: (623) 584-0664
Fax: (623) 584-1728