When your dentist tells you that your tooth "needs to go,"
What would you think? Then, your dentist recommends an implant, which is an artificial root that goes into your bone. And you are probably going to get scared, then the next thing you can imagine is the cost of the treatment. Your next thought is going to be, "Is it essential, or can this tooth still be functional?" We understand all of your concerns, and the implant treatments are surgically involved and are not the least expensive treatment.
First of all, what could happen if you leave the hopeless tooth but have no symptoms in your mouth? If you do not have pain, you can most likely use the tooth, but the tooth probably has a chronic infection or problems. If you leave it in your mouth, the condition could cause bone loss around the tooth, and it will gradually get bigger. Bone loss around the hopeless tooth will get worse and might also affect the adjacent teeth. When you finally decide to have the treatment done, there will be no bone, and it gets very difficult or impossible to augment bone in the area. So not only does it get challenging to place implants, but you could lose the adjacent teeth as well. So, once we diagnose it as a non-savable tooth, you need to take it out as soon as possible when you have an infection to avoid more bone loss and protect adjacent teeth.
After extraction, you have a couple of options.
- No treatment: What happens if you don't replace a missing tooth?
We recommend appropriate treatment after extraction because the other teeth will start to shift, and your occlusion (bite) will collapse. However, once this happens, the treatment gets more complicated, meaning more time and cost. When it is the very back tooth(3rd Molar), no treatment after extraction is more realistic because there will be no shifting of other teeth. Don't wait to replace a missing tooth.
- Removable Partial Denture: Cheapest tooth replacement does not offer comfortable chewing
A removable partial denture is a next less expensive option. However, most of the time, it is more difficult to eat with a partial denture than no tooth. And no matter what, partial dentures move when you chew and start to slowly extract the teeth that have a clasp on over years of use.
- Bridge: Most affordable tooth replacement
- Implant crown: Most durable tooth replacement
A fixed bridge is probably one of the most acceptable options after extraction. You can eat almost like your natural tooth and do not move like partial dentures, and it is a fixed restoration. The disadvantage of bridges is overload because you will have three teeth supported by two roots. You have to shave the adjacent teeth aggressively as well. This could cause you to need root canal treatment or have sensitivity after a new bridge. Also, your natural teeth have micro movement, so when you chew and connect two moving teeth, the bridge gets force loose, causing a cavity. Lastly, you do not have roots in the missing tooth area, so that the bone that used to support the missing tooth will shrink.
On the other hand, implants restore everything from the root to the tooth's crown and never get a cavity. To get implants, we need to perform surgery. However, it is much less invasive than extractions. To make implant placement successfully, we need to be less intrusive to the bone or very kind to the bone when placing implants. To remove the tooth, we have to push the root against the bone to loosen the root. So it is very invasive to the bone. If we apply too much pressure or heat when placing the implant, the implant will not integrate with the bone, so we must be cautious and gentle to the bone when placing the implants. Thus, after surgery, there would be much less swelling or less pain than an extraction. Yes, it is the most expensive option, and the treatment takes longer. However, most insurances pay for implant crowns, and some even pay for implant surgery, so the cost difference between bridges and implants is not as much anymore. By the way, do you know why more and more insurance companies started to pay for the implants? It is because if you choose implants over bridges, insurance companies pay much less over time. If you decide on bridges, insurance companies need to pay more because of more re-treatments. Insurance companies have all the statistics and data that last longer. And we agree from our past 30 years of experience that implants last much longer.
So, How much does a dental implant cost for one tooth?
The average cost of a dental implant is $1800-$3500, but this is only for the implant placement. On top of this, you will need abutments that go over the implants to support the crown, and of course, you need crowns on the implants. If you need an extraction, there will be another cost for the extraction and bone augmentation. You can go online to find dentists that offer a much lesser fee, but as you can imagine, most of the time, it is not a good idea. Recently more and more insurance companies pay for implants. Also, in my office, there is a no-interest option from CareCredit.
- What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
- When do I need a crown?
- What's the differences between dental bonding and veneers?
- Are dental bridges better than implants?
- Are dental implants better than bridges and dentures?
- Are veneers better thatn bonding? How much are tooth veneers?
- How can I fix teeth that sticking out?
- What is the quickest way to get straight teeth?
- Lengthen Short Teeth with tooth reconstruction?
- Single tooth replacement
- No-prep veneers or Minimal Veneers
- What is microscope Dentistry?
Giving people the smile they want is our passion!
Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 417 dental professionals worldwide (Only six in Houston area) as of 2021 who have achieved this prestigious honor.