What are Dental Implants?: Types, Procedure and Costs

One of the great innovations in dentistry was the creation of dental implants. Dental implants are undoubtably one of the best options for long-term tooth replacement. They are designed to resemble natural teeth and restore the function of your smile.

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Dental implants are both a safe and effective dental treatment. Your dental professional can determine if you are candidate for dental implants. This article will give complete information about Dental Implants.

  • Tooth loss is a prominent oral health issue, impacting approximately 36 million Americans who have no remaining teeth, and 120 million Americans who have at least one missing tooth.
  • As a result, nearly one-half of Americans are eligible to have dental implants, which is projected to increase over the next 20 years.

What are Dental Implants?

Most likely you’ve heard of dental implants. In this section we describe exactly what are dental implants and when they are used.

Dental implants function to replace one or more missing teeth. When teeth are lost, this can alter your bite, which in turn impacts how you chew, speak, and the appearance of your smile and even facial structure. A dental implant is a natural-looking artificial tooth that is surgically secured into the jawbone with a metal post. Dental implants are meant to remain within the jaws for a lifetime.

How do Dental Implants Work?

So, how do dental implants work? As with any dental treatment, dental implants have a specific function.

Knowing what a dental implant does for your smile can help you make informed treatment decisions when it comes to replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Continue reading below to learn more about the dental implant procedure.

Dental implants can be placed in the area of one or more missing teeth. Unlike other tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges or dentures, dental implants are fixed into the jawbone. In other words, you do not have to worry about taking it on and off. This is also beneficial because it can help preserve the jawbone by preventing the bone from receding. In addition, neighboring teeth do not have to be manipulated for dental implants to be placed, unlike with dental bridges.

Types of Dental Implants

There are several types of dental implants. Four of the most common types are endosteal, subperiosteal, zygomatic, and All-on-4 dental implants, which are discussed below.

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are the most commonly placed dental implants. They differ from other types of dental implants in that they are placed directly inside the jawbone. An artificial tooth is then attached to the implant once healing is complete.

Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants are placed above the jawbone. These implants rest right beneath the gums and allow for attachment of an artificial tooth. This type of dental implant may be recommended for individuals who do not have enough jawbone to support endosteal implants.

Zygoma Implants

Zygoma implants are surgically placed in the cheekbone (zygomatic bone). This type of implant may also be used if there is not enough jawbone to support a traditional endosteal implant.

All-on-4 Dental Implants

All-on-4 dental implants use four implants in each dental arch to support artificial teeth. These implants allow for the replacement of a complete set of upper or lower teeth.

Procedure of Dental Implants

The dental implant procedure is relatively simple. In the following section we discuss the step-by-step process of dental implants.

Initial Consultation

The first step involves an initial consultation with your dental professional. They will evaluate the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. With the help of diagnostic dental X-rays and other methods, your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants.

Treatment Plan

Next, your dental professional will create a treatment plan that addresses your specific dental needs. They will inform you of all necessary procedures, and go over the risks, benefits, and alternative treatment options. They will also discuss anesthesia options for the dental implant procedure, including local anesthesia, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.

Implant Placement

Once you are prepared for the implant procedure, your dental professional will surgically place the implant. If you are receiving an endosteal implant placed, your dentist will administer anesthesia, and then make a cut into the gum tissue to expose the jawbone. The endosteal implant will be inserted into the jawbone, which will require approximately 3-6 months to heal.

Abutment Attachment

A metal post, also called an abutment, is then attached to the dental implant. The purpose of the abutment is to hold the artificial tooth in place. The gum tissue is then allowed to grow over the abutment until the artificial tooth is ready to be placed several months later.

Taking Impressions

Once your jawbone has healed, a dental impression will be taken to create the dental crown. The impression will capture your neighboring teeth and the abutment. A color shade will be taken at this time that matches your natural teeth. The crown will then be fabricated from the impression either at the dental office or in a dental lab.

Crown Placement

To complete the implant procedure, the fabricated dental crown will be inserted into the abutment. The dental crown may be either screw or cement retained, which will determine how the implant is put on. A dental X-ray will then be taken to ensure the proper fit of the crown.

Follow-up Visits

Follow-up visits will be scheduled throughout the dental implant procedure at a frequency determined by your dental professional. You may be scheduled for a follow-up visit one to two weeks after dental implant placement for suture removal and evaluation of the site. You may also be scheduled to be seen again after six weeks, three months, and six months, for example.

How Long Does a Dental Implant Procedure Take?

Interested in knowing how long does a dental implant procedure take? Take a look below to see the average length of a dental implant procedure.

Dental implant surgery can be relatively fast. On average, the surgery may take from 1-2 hours for each implant placed.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

Are dental implants painful? This can be an important question that you will want to know the answer to. Read more to find out.

Dental professionals will make you as comfortable as possible during your dental implant surgery. They will administer anesthesia to keep you numb throughout the procedure. Once the anesthesia wears off, you may experience temporary discomfort, which they can also help you manage. Your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain medication, for instance.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

How long do dental implants last? This section will cover the average length of time that you can expect your dental implant to last.

Dental implants that are maintained properly can last a lifetime. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups play a crucial role in the maintenance of its health. At your dental check-ups, your dental professional will check the health of your implant and supporting jawbone.

Cost of Dental Implant Surgery

An important factor to consider when deciding on dental implants is the cost. Read more below to learn how much dental implants cost on average.

Dental implant cost can vary based on numerous factors. On average, a single dental implant can cost between $1,500 to $2,000. However, some additional costs are often added including the dental crown, tooth extraction, dental X-rays, office check-ups, or other treatments needed. This can boost the total cost for a single implant on average to $3,000 to $4,800.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

Luckily, there are several benefits of dental implants. It is important to review the pros and cons of dental implants so that you can make an informed decision when considering treatment.

Pros of Dental Implants

Looks and Feels Real

When looking at dental implants before and after results photographs, it can be hard to tell that the dental implant is not a natural tooth! Dental implants both look and feel real and serve to function just as your natural teeth.

Preserves Jawbone

One of the greatest advantages of dental implants in comparison to other treatment options is their ability to preserve the jawbone. Bone loss tends to diminish overtime when it is not stimulated, as is the case when a tooth is lost.

Supports Nearby Teeth

Dental implants help support your neighboring teeth by filling the gap that is left by a missing tooth. This helps prevent the neighboring teeth from shifting out of alignment and creating other dental issues.

Enhances Facial Look

When teeth are lost, the facial structure tends to collapse in the affected area. Dental implants can help enhance facial appearance and minimize facial sagging.


Dental implants are durable restorations that can last a lifetime. Implants are often made of titanium and can withstand normal chewing forces.

Functions Naturally

Teeth are necessary for a variety of reasons, including speaking and eating. Dental implants help fulfill these functions and improve overall wellbeing.

Restores Biting Power

When teeth are lost, chewing efficiency diminishes. Dental implants can help restore your natural biting power and help you enjoy the foods you love.

Boosts Life Quality

Dental implants can significantly improve your quality of life. They can help your smile look, feel, and act like the smile of your dreams!

Cons of Dental Implants

Dental implants can be costly

Dental implants cost more than some of the alternative treatment options such as dentures or dental bridges. However, dental implants can be an investment that pays off in the long-run by lasting a life-time.

Multiple Appointments are Required

Dental implant surgery requires multiple appointments but can be worth the wait. It typically takes 3 to 6 months before the artificial tooth can be placed to allow healing of the jawbone.

Require Oral Surgery

The process of placing a dental implant is considered oral surgery. Your dental professional will prepare you for the surgery and go over any pre and post-op instructions.

Risk of Other Potential Complications

As with any treatment, there are some potential risks associated with dental implant surgery. Rare complications can include infection, sinus issues, nerve damage, allergic reactions, and implant failure.

Alternatives to Dental Implants

When you are trying to determine if dental implants are right for you, it is important to know the alternatives to dental implants. Continue reading to learn about the different treatment options available to replace missing teeth.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a common alternative to implants. The bridge's dental procedure involves an artificial tooth that is held in place by the connection to two dental crowns on either side of the gap. Dental crowns are typically less expensive than dental implants but require the preparation of the neighboring teeth in order to be placed.

Removable Dentures

A removable denture is a common method restore a smile. A removable denture can be partial or full, depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced. Dentures are held into place by the gums and can be taken on and off to clean and when sleeping.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns is an artificial tooth cap that covers your existing natural tooth. Dental crowns can be used to restore decayed or fractured teeth, but cannot replace teeth that are missing.

Resin-Bonded Bridges

Resin-bonded bridges function similarly to dental bridges but is considered a less invasive treatment. The dental bridge is held In place to the neighboring teeth using a dental resin rather than through crown preparations on the neighboring teeth for a traditional dental bridge.

Dentures Supported by Implants

Implanted-supported dentures involve the use of dental implants to latch the denture in place. This type of restoration is ideal for individuals who want a more permanent tooth replacement option, as opposed to a removable denture that can be taken on and off.

Flipper Dentures

Flipper dentures are temporary removable dentures that replace one or more missing teeth. They are used to help balance the smile and maintain the space while waiting for the permanent removable denture.

Tooth-Supported Overdentures

Tooth-supported overdenture use your remaining natural teeth to help support the denture. Your natural teeth are altered so that only the roots remain above the gum level, which helps latch onto the denture and hold it into place.

Restore Your Smile with Dental Implant Surgery at Gentle Dental

Looking to restore your smile? If you have one or more missing teeth, the experienced team of dental professionals at Gentle Dental can help give you a new and more confident smile.

Gentle Dental offers top notch care and have leading experts who perform dental implant surgery. Gentle Dental offers quality and affordable dental care for you and your entire family. The dentists and dental specialists at Gentle Dental provide a wide range of services from dental implants to cosmetic dentistry to orthodontics to emergency dental care and much more. If you are looking to have a healthy and happy smile, contact Gentle Dental today!


Overall, dental implants can significantly change one’s smile for the better. Fortunately, dental implants could potentially last a lifetime. These restorations are ideal for replacing one or more missing teeth, restoring a smile to its original appearance and function. Contact our dental implant specialists at Gentle Dental for a consultation today!