Dental Implant FAQs

  • Are they FDA approved?
  • How much do dental implants cost?
  • How to get cheap dental implants?
  • Will my insurance pay for my implants?
  • Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Implants?
  • Are dental implants safe?
  • Are they FDA approved?
  • How painful are dental implants?
  • How long does treatment take?
  • Will I be without my teeth?
  • Are dental implants as strong as natural teeth?
  • What are dental implants made of?
  • What do dental implants look like?
  • How are dental implants placed?
  • How long is the recovery period?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • How long until I can eat after surgery?
  • Do dental implants require special care?
  • What are the benefits of implant dentistry?
  • What is the success rate of dental implants?
  • What kind of problems can occur?
  • How long do dental implants last?
  • Is treatment available for failed implants?
  • Am I a candidate?
  • Can smokers get dental implants?
  • Is age a factor?
  • Do implants make dentures more comfortable?
  • When are mini dental implants a good choice?
  • Can any dentist carry out the surgery?

Have a suggestion for a question that should be answered here but isn’t yet? Please contact us and let us know! We’d be happy to answer your question and add it here.

How much do dental implants cost?

A single dental implant (including the post, abutment and crown) can cost between $1,500 and $7,000. According to our data, the average price paid in the US is $4,000. The price depends on a number of factors including: where you live, the implant system used (as some dentists will purchase cheaper components than others) and whether any additional procedures are required such as bone grafts or sinus lifts.

It can also vary according to the skill level of your dentist. Some have more experience than others and some will have invested additional time and money in the most recent implant placement techniques. To find out what other factors can affect the cost, how much multiple or full-mouth implants are or what you can expect to pay per implant in other countries, please our complete guide to the cost of implants.

Will my insurance cover dental implants?

It is unlikely that your insurance will cover the cost of surgically inserting your the implants because it is usually classified as a “cosmetic” procedure (not done for health-related reasons). However, it is worth checking as some policies are beginning to include it. It is more likely that your insurance will cover a part of the cost of the restoration (crown, bridge or dentures) that is secured onto the implant.

Does Medicare or Medicaid cover implants?

It’s unlikely that this kind of coverage will be provided as dental implants and other implant-supported options are regarded as an elective treatments. Medicaid is designed to cover basic treatments such as tooth extractions and their replacement with partial or full dentures.

Dental coverage under Medicare is extremely limited and the only way they might consider paying for dental implants is as part of a full mouth reconstruction.

Are dental implants safe?

Yes, implants are safe for most people and your dentist will be able to tell if treatment is safe for you. People who smoke or are have a medical condition (diabetes, compromised immune systems, osteoporosis, etc.) may be at higher risk of failure as these conditions/habits can affect bone quality and the body’s ability to heal (tissues are slower to heal after treatment).

Are they FDA approved?

Yes, the FDA approved dental implants in 2002 and their use is carefully regulated. Dentists have been safely using them for decades and they have been rigorously tested for longevity of treatment as well as safety. A number of implant systems have received the approval of the American Dental Association.

How painful are dental implants?

Most patients are surprised at how little discomfort they feel after having a dental implant. It is possible to have the procedure done under local anaesthetic or you can request additional sedation if you think it will be necessary to calm you down. Once the anesthesia has worn off, discomfort should be minimal. If necessary, your dentist can prescribe pain medication but over-the-counter medication is often sufficient. If the pain is unbearable, lasts for more than a few days or you notice any of these unexpected issues, contact your dentist immediately. For more on this subject, check our guide on how painful implants are.

How long does treatment take?

The average treatment time is 3-6 months (this can vary) which is the time between the initial surgery and the placement of the permanent crown/restoration that the implant is given to fuse with the jawbone.

Implants can sometimes be placed at the same time teeth are extracted, and in certain cases can be immediately restored with temporary teeth (for aesthetic purposes) while the implant fuses with the jawbone (this is called immediate loading or same day dental implants). More complex implant cases can take longer, particularly if additional procedures such as bone grafts and sinus lifts are required.

Will I be without my teeth?

No, you will be provided with temporary dentures or a temporary bridge to wear during treatment. These temporary teeth are fabricated prior to tooth extraction and implant placement. If you already wear dentures then they may be adapted so you can use them while the implants are healing.

Are dental implants as strong as natural teeth?

Yes, and they may even feel stronger when they are replacing decayed and damaged teeth that may have been quite fragile or painful during eating or chewing. They can restore your mouth so you can eat normally and enjoy all your favorite foods while benefiting from an aesthetically pleasing smile.

What are dental implants made of?

The implant post is made from titanium as it is an inert metal that is extremely strong and won’t react with the body. In addition, titanium integrates very well with the bone, holding the post firmly in position.

What do dental implants look like?

Please see this gallery we’ve created of before and after photos.

How are dental implants placed?

They are inserted into the jawbone during a short surgical procedure. Your dentist will cut into the gum tissue, exposing the jawbone before carefully drilling a small hole. The implant post is then screwed into the bone, and the gum is replaced over the implant and stitched back in position so the bone and gum can heal. Once healing is complete, an abutment is attached to the implant and this supports the replacement tooth. For more detail, you can read our step-by-step description of a typical implant procedure.

How long is the recovery period?

Recovery is typically quite quick, and most people will be able to return to work the day after having a single implant placed. If you have multiple implants placed then you may need to wait a few days before returning to your normal activities, particularly if extra sedation was required.

Are there any side effects?

You should experience few, if any side effects after implant surgery other than the low levels of soreness and swelling that should be expected after any invasive surgical procedure. If a dental implant is placed incorrectly then it is possible to experience numbness or a tingling sensation, or possibly sharp pain. If the symptoms continue for more than a couple of days then you should consult your implant dentist. It is possible it could settle down, but otherwise the implant may need to be removed. This is incredibly rare as risks are minimized through careful planning prior to surgery using x-rays and a CT scan so any nerves and blood vessels are avoided.

How long until I can eat after surgery?

You will probably need to stick to a soft food diet for the first few days to a week after surgery, to avoid getting any foods stuck around the stitches. Stick to nutritious foods that are easy to eat, and gradually re-introduce harder foods into your diet as the site heals.

Do implants require special care?

It is important to keep your implants clean, but this is easy to do as they can be brushed and flossed each day. Your dentist will demonstrate how to clean them. It is vital to remember that unless kept clean, the bone and gum tissue around them can become infected with a disease very similar to gum disease, increasing the risk of implant failure. Regular check-ups and professional cleanings will help keep them free from infection.

What are the benefits of implant dentistry?

Implants help preserve the jawbone through replicating natural tooth roots. They are strong and stable and make it easy to enjoy a balanced diet and your favorite foods. They are versatile and can support single or multiple crowns, or even full dentures.

It is also possible to replace full dentures with large bridges supported by implants and which are permanently fixed in position (such as the all-on-4 technique). Teeth replaced with implants will support the cheeks and lips, restoring your natural appearance and self-confidence.

What is the success rate of dental implants?

They have a very high overall success rate of 95% (this drops to 85-90% when placed in grafted bone). That said, this statistic does rely on proper patient selection and planning. They are not suitable for everybody, and surgery has to be meticulously planned to ensure the implants are inserted accurately to give the best aesthetic and functional results while avoiding any sinus cavities, nerves and blood vessels.

How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants last for many years, and in many cases for a lifetime. For patients who are 45 years or older, dental implants will last for the rest of their lives. While the implant itself will last a long time once it integrates with the bone, the crown typically needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years due to the normal wear and tear it experiences from chewing forces.

It is important to note that the longevity of implants relies on good professional and home dental care. Good dental hygiene (brushing, flossing and regular check-ups) can help extend the lifespan of an implant. No professional can guarantee that an implant won’t fail because there are many aspects that can affect the outcome which are out of their control, including the patient’s genetics, diseases, personal hygiene, nutrition/diet and lifestyle.

Is treatment available for failed implants?

Although implant failure is rare, it can happen. Sometimes it is possible to save a dental implant, (provided help is sought quickly enough) by building up the bone & gum tissue surrounding it, but the implant must often be removed and the area left to heal. Another dental implant can then be inserted at a later date.

Am I a candidate?

You need to be in good overall health, and must not have any untreated dental problems. If you have a contraindication that could complicate or prohibit osseointegration such as diabetes, alcohol abuse, smoking or a chronic disease, then you will probably need to consider an alternative way to replace missing teeth. Your dentist can determine whether or not you are a candidate once they have examined your medical history and physical health.

Can smokers get dental implants?

Patients are strongly advised to quit smoking long before the surgery. This is because smoking makes it harder for the gums and bone to heal, greatly increasing the risk of implant failure.

Is age a factor?

Age is generally not a factor. A young person can have dental implants once their bones have stopped growing, usually by age eighteen or twenty. Older people are usually able to have them done, provided they do not have any medical issues. Good health is more important than age, however it is important to note that the rate of recovery slows with age and the jawbone becomes weaker as teeth are lost.

Do implants make dentures more comfortable?

They should, as traditional dentures rest on the gums, often rubbing uncomfortably. Many people struggle with dentures that slip or move around; particularly after they have been worn for a few years as the jawbone becomes flatter and less retentive. This cannot happen with dental implants supported dentures as the dentures will clip or snap into place and cannot move. For a more detailed comparison, see our page on dental implants vs dentures.

When are mini implants a good choice?

Mini dental implants are shorter and thinner than traditional dental implants. They can be a good choice for patients who do not have sufficient bone density or mass to support traditional dental implants, and who are unable to undergo bone grafting surgery to build up the bone in the jaw.

Can any dentist carry out the surgery?

In theory, any dentist can place a dental implant. However, it is highly advised to go to a dentist or oral surgeon who has significant experience with placing implants and who routinely carries out the procedure on a daily or weekly basis.

You are more likely to achieve long-term functionality and aesthetics with a quality surgeon as the implant will be inserted correctly using the most up-to-date techniques – something that takes extensive planning and experience as well as constant practice. To find an experienced dentist who does quality work, read this guide.

Over to You

Have a question about dental implants that isn’t answered here? Leave a comment with your question and we’ll answer it and add it to the list!