Dental implants are surgical-grade root devices that support permanent tooth prosthetics that are manufactured to last a lifetime. These artificial roots are anchored in the bone beneath the gums where they become fused into the jaw. A crown is mounted atop the implant for a long-lasting and natural looking smile. Many dentists and patients prefer dental implants because they offer the same function as natural teeth and also help prevent bone atrophy in the jaw. Dental implants may be used to replace a single missing or damaged tooth or to restore an entire smile.


That approximately 30 million people live with no natural teeth in one or both jaws? But more and more dental patients are opting for dental implants as a means of tooth replacement. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that 3 million people currently have dental implants – a number that is rapidly growing by about 500,000 per year. Modern titanium implants were first developed in the 1950’s, but archeologists have determined that ancient Egyptians and Mayans were the first cultures to implant artificial teeth.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a titanium screw. Titanium is the same kind of metal we use for artificial joint implants like hips and knees and shoulders. It's a biocompatible metal that your bone actually grows around. So when you put a dental implant in, you put a screw into the jawbone and that jawbone grows around that dental implant over the course of time. It becomes part of your jawbone and is strong enough to support teeth.

Under what conditions would you recommend patients consider implants?

There are a lot of applications now for dental implants. Dental implants are, to put it simply, a tooth replacement modality. So you can use them to replace a single tooth, or you can use several of them to replace a full mouth of teeth if that's what's necessary. You use dental implants when a patient is going to be missing or needs to remove a tooth. Whether it's an immediate placement or one that's been missing for a while, you use a dental implant to help replace missing teeth.

The process of dental implant procedure from beginning to end

First off, there's a couple of factors that go into this. Some people come in and they already have a tooth missing and they want it replaced. That's simpler. Some people come in with, say, an infected tooth or a tooth that's broken and it's not fixable and need that tooth replaced right away. They don't want to go, or they don't want to take it out and then wait. If you have good enough bone and there's not too much infection in the area, a very popular way to do it is to take the tooth out of the jaw and at the same appointment, while you're already numb and while we're already in there doing the work, prep that site where there were roots that came out of that bone. We just prep it a little bit and reshape it a little bit to where we put that implant screw in at that same appointment. The implant is the foundation that's inside the bone, and then there's a second and third part where you have an abutment that screws into that, that comes up through the gums, and then a tooth or a crown cements over top of the abutment.

Procedure for dental implants

The procedure for dental implants begins with the placement of a screw into the bone. An abutment is then placed on top of the screw. We scan the area and cement a crown to go on top of that. This entire process can be done in our office in about three and a half months, provided everything goes as planned. With our CAD CAM, we can create immediate crowns in a single day once the implant has adequately healed and is solid.

Advantages of dental implants

Dental implants are an excellent solution for tooth replacement. They offer the ability to replace a lost tooth with a new one that is almost as good as the original. Unlike traditional methods like bridges, dental implants do not require the use of adjacent teeth. They are easy to keep clean and do not have any cavity issues as they are made from ceramic and titanium parts. However, they are still susceptible to gum disease, so regular cleaning is necessary. They provide a very long-term and permanent solution for tooth loss.

When is bone grafting necessary?

Bone grafting is often beneficial in most situations, especially when a tooth is extracted. It is most cost-effective and simplest to perform the bone grafting at the time the tooth is removed. Sometimes, the implant can be placed immediately after tooth extraction. However, in other situations where the bone defect is too large, the tooth is extracted, a bone graft is placed, and the area is allowed to heal for about three months before the implant can be placed. Regardless of whether an implant is planned or not, bone grafting is a good option to maintain the maximum amount of bone and leave the option for a future implant open.

What happens if there's substantial bone loss when a tooth is removed? Does it affect the success of future implants?

If a tooth is removed and there's been significant bone loss, the bone might not heal with sufficient bone remaining to allow for an implant down the line. Furthermore, if the bone loss is severe, it might not be possible to place a large, strong implant or an implant at the right angle. This could potentially reduce the long-term success of the implants. Consequently, any procedure that helps a patient retain more bone will potentially enhance the effectiveness of the implant.

Restorations with dental implants

The type of restoration possible on top of dental implants can vary greatly. The simplest would be a single tooth replacement, where an implant, an abutment, and a crown are used. However, some people may be missing multiple teeth, or even a full arch, either on the top, bottom, or both. In these cases, the procedures can become more complex, but not necessarily overly so. One can opt for implant bridges where two implants can support four teeth, for instance. If an entire arch of teeth is missing, four to five implants can support all the missing teeth, making individual implants for each missing tooth unnecessary. Another option is implant removable dentures, where two to four implants are fitted with clips that can attach to a denture. This option is removable, making it easier to clean, though it may not be as secure as a permanently cemented bridge.

Removable dental options and how do they compare to fixed options

Removable dental options are those that don't stay in permanently, such as a denture or a partial denture. These can be done with implants and are typically less expensive. They involve a denture that is removed and clips in on top of implants. On the other hand, there are fixed options which are either screwed into the implants or cemented on top of parts that come up out of the gums on those implants. Although both options are effective, fixed options are usually more expensive as they are permanent, stay in your mouth 24/7, and require cleaning around them.

How long does it take to recover from dental implants?

Recovery from dental implants can be defined in a couple of ways. If recovery is considered as feeling normal, then after a tooth is removed and an implant is put in, you might feel quite normal within about three to five days. However, if recovery is defined as the time before the implant is strong enough to put a tooth or a removable restoration on top of it, then it will typically be a minimum of three and a half to four months before you can replace a tooth and feel normal in that respect.

How long do dental implants last?

The lifespan of dental implants varies greatly. Your oral health and how clean you keep your mouth play significant roles. The average crown and bridge setup probably lasts between 10 and 20 years. However, implants have a better long-term success rate, often lasting 30 to 40 years or more if they are well taken care of. In fact, dental implants can easily be a lifetime restoration for patients who maintain good oral hygiene. There are cases where implants have lasted only three to four years in individuals who neglect their oral health, but also cases where even sub-par implants have lasted up to 50 years in patients who take good care of their mouth.

Dental implants and cavities

Dental implants cannot get cavities. This eliminates half of the problems that people have with restorations or teeth in their mouth. However, dental implants can still be affected by gum disease, which can cause an implant to fail. Therefore, it's still important to take care of dental implants just as you would regular teeth.

Cost and financing options for dental implants

Dental implants are among the most expensive procedures in the dental world, if not the most expensive. Specific costs and financing options can vary.

At Integrity Dental, we understand that cost concerns can deter people from considering dental implants. However, we believe that implants are an excellent way to improve oral and overall health, which is why we offer several financing options. Options include Care Credit and lesser-known ones such as Alfion. Nowadays, many insurance policies also provide some coverage for the implant process. However, due to the high cost of implants, these procedures often exceed the typical yearly maximum that your insurance provides. As a result, there's usually an out-of-pocket expense associated with getting an implant, whether it's for a full mouth or a single tooth.

Cost range for dental implants

The cost of implants varies widely depending on several factors. These factors include the complexity of the implant, the number of teeth being restored, whether a tooth needs to be removed, and whether bone grafting is required. To give you an idea, the bare minimum for a simple implant – assuming the tooth is already missing and you have good bone quality that doesn't need bone grafting – is probably about $3,500 from beginning to end if you are paying out-of-pocket without insurance. From there, costs can increase significantly. For example, if you need a tooth removed, the cost could range from $3,500 to around $4,000 for a single tooth, depending on the complexity of the tooth removal and whether bone grafting is required.

Are there additional costs for dental implants?

Yes, it's important to understand that the cost of dental implants doesn't always include the tooth that goes on top of the implant. Sometimes, you might have the implant placed by a specialist and then return to your general dentist to have the tooth placed on top of that implant. Therefore, when discussing costs, be sure to clarify whether the quoted price includes the abutment and the crown that go on top of the implant.

Integrity Dental offers full-service dental treatments. This includes handling the case from the beginning, and includes procedures such as tooth extraction, grafting, implant placement, as well as the abutment and the crown. The entire process is done in-house, eliminating the need for going to multiple dental professionals.

Cost of Full-mouth set of dental implants 

A full mouth set of dental implants can get pretty expensive, especially if you're missing up to 14 teeth on just the top. This requires at least four implants, and the cost for a full upper or lower set can range from about $20,000 to $22,000. The cost varies depending on how many teeth need to be removed and if grafting is required.

Cost of a removable denture 

Costs for a few implants with a removable denture range around $10,000 to $15,000. The final cost will depend on the specific requirements of each patient.

Do insurances cover the cost of dental implants?

Most insurances do cover the cost of dental implants, but the coverage might not be complete. The typical cost for a dental implant in an optimal situation is a minimum of $3,500 to $4,000 for a single tooth. This usually uses up more than a patient's full insurance benefit for the year, resulting in out-of-pocket costs.

How does Integrity Dental assist with consultation and costs?

Integrity Dental offers a free consultation to give you a better idea of the cost for your specific situation. They try to make the out-of-pocket costs as easy as possible for their patients. You can call and request a free consultation for implants at your convenience.

Importance of getting dental implants 

Dental implants hold a special place because they provide significant benefits to patients. They enable the performance of great restoration work and improve the quality of life. Dental implants allow patients to have a full set of teeth, distribute the load evenly, prevent damage to other teeth, and enable efficient chewing. They also reduce the need to shift food around in different ways and eliminate worries about what can and cannot be eaten.

Schedule a consultation at Integrity Dental

Integrity Dental encourages you to call their number, 719-545-2468, to schedule a free consultation. This will enable them to give you a good idea of what it would cost to get a dental implant restoration.

Is it worth the price to get that kind of restoration?

Yes, it's well worth the price to get that kind of restoration.

What is dental implant restoration?

Dental implant restoration is subtly different from just dental implants. The dental implant is the part that is encased in bone. It's a titanium screw that goes into the bone and the bone fuses to it, becoming part of the bone. This is what holds your restoration. After it has healed, which takes a minimum of three and a half to four months, an abutment is attached to the implant. Then, a crown is attached to the abutment. Another style involves an abutment crown already fused together outside the mouth that's just screwed directly into the implant.

What does implant restoration entail?

Implant restoration in our office entails making sure that the implant base, the screw, has healed, and then putting in the abutment, which is painless. We unscrew a healing cap that's on top of the implant, then scan the abutment. Sometimes there's a bit of preparatory work that goes into making the abutment fit the patient, so there can be some drilling. We prep and then screw it in once we have it shaped the way it needs to be. Then, we scan that and make a crown to fit over the abutment.

How can I make my dental implants white again?

They should always stay white. If your implants have changed color, it may be due to some recession or gum disease or bone disease around the implant, causing the gums to recede away and show the edge of the actual screw, which is silver or gray. If this is the case, you might have a bigger problem as it may mean that your implant is failing and may need to be either repaired or replaced.

Is it possible to do screw-retained crown restorations of single implants?

Absolutely, yes. We typically do ours with cement-retained implants. However, once you drill through the top of the crown that's cemented on top of the abutment, it becomes a screw-retained implant. So, it's really a matter of technicalities, but most single-tooth implants are actually screw-retained implants.

How many years can you keep a dental implant?

There's no expiration date on dental implants. If you take good care of them, they can last a lifetime - 40, 50, 60, 70 years potentially. But just like teeth, you still have to brush and take good care of your implant, as they are susceptible to gum disease and bone disease for the screw portion that is encased in bone.

How many times can dental implants be replaced?

There's no set number of how many times a dental implant can be replaced. A dental implant is not susceptible to cavities, only gum disease. When you get gum disease around an implant, it has to be removed. You then regraft or replace the implant depending on the amount of bone you have in the area.

How common is dental implant failure?

Dental implant failure is not very common. The success rates for about a 15 to 20 year success rate for dental implants is about 94% industry-wide, which is quite good compared to other dental procedures. It's as good, if not better, than the success rate and longevity of most of your crowns, root canals, and fillings.

What is the most common reason for implant failure?

Most implant failures are usually due to poor hygiene, leading to gum disease and bone disease around the edge of the dental implant. This can cause the implant to become loose or the infection to cause enough pain that it needs to be removed. The second most common cause would be poor workmanship, which can occur if an implant is not done well by a skilled professional.

Can you save a failing dental implant?

Sometimes, yes. It's not guaranteed, but there are procedures that we can do to halt infection and resuscitate an implant. However, it can be tricky and it's not always an option. It depends on how much disease, bone loss, and gum disease is already present.

How can you prevent dental implants from failing?

The best way to prevent a dental implant from failing is to clean it just as well as you clean your teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is your best bet.

How long does implant restoration take?

Implant restoration takes about the same amount of time as a crown restoration in our office. A crown, you drill down, shave down the sides and the top of the tooth, and make room for a shell or a crown to go over top of that. We do the same thing with an implant, you put in the abutment that screws into the implant body that's in the bone, the patient's bone, and then you prep that a little bit, scan that, and create a crown to be cemented over top of that, the same way that it's cemented over the stump of a tooth that you're doing in a regular crown procedure, so usually about two hours in our office.

How do I know when my implant is ready to restore?

Your implant is not ready to restore after the surgical appointment, where you put the screw into the bone. It's not ready to be restored any sooner than three and a half months. That would be about the soonest, unless there are some special new implants coming out that they claim can cut the healing time in half, so maybe a month and a half to two months you could potentially restore, but those are very expensive and they're not very commonly used yet, so the typical soonest you can restore an implant is about three and a half months after it's been placed.

If you're interested in dental implants, we'd love to talk with you more about that. At Integrity Dental, we offer a free consultation or we can provide information over the phone on how the process works. Call us at 719-545-2468.