Dental implant to replace a missing tooth

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Dental implant to replace a missing tooth

Does this sound familiar to you?

Not too long ago, I was going to boxing training almost every day not only to always remain super fit but also to share the pain of body-weight and balancing exercises with a group of fellow sufferers. A key part of my boxing training was the weekly “Sparring Session” which was basically a simulated real boxing match in a safe environment. During one of these simulations, however, two fellow boxing club members got a little too much into it and after the one’s right fist met the other’s cheek for a heavier-than-expected encounter; the spectators could suddenly see a tooth flying through the air. And so it was time to go see the dentist – ASAP!

What is a dental implant?

When we made it to the dental practice, the dentist thoroughly examined my friend and soon thereafter recommended inserting a dental implant to fill the tooth gap. “An implant is a good option in this case because the now missing tooth is not only lowering the functionality of your jaw but is also causing an aesthetic appearance issue given its location in the visible left side of your mouth. Once we put a dental implant in, nobody will be able to tell the difference to your other healthy teeth.” According to the experienced dental care professional, a few additional advantages of dental implants include:      
  • Fully restored ability to chew
  • Completely unimpeded ability to speak
  • Avoidance of a removable tooth replacement (denture)
  • No foreign body sensation

Prior to implant insertion, a dentist most frequently conducts a patient-specific prophylactic program to identify and execute any potentially necessary rehabilitative measures for the patient’s jaw bones. Afterwards, the implantation itself can be done with either local anesthesia or, upon patient request, with general anesthesia. This makes the procedure generally pain-free and even afterwards most patients do not feel any discomfort. Over the few months after the procedure the patient needs to wear a provisional tooth replacement to give the implant (most often made out of titanium) enough time to bond with the jawbone. Once that happens, the dentist installs the permanent tooth replacement on top of the implant. Dental implants are generally safe and the complication rates associated with them are very low (~35% over the first 5 years after the implantation). In terms of durability, these implants also score very well and can often last a lifetime. „Sounds like a solid option but a waiting several months from beginning to the end of the procedure seems a bit much. What other alternatives do I have?” wondered my friend.

An illuminating dental implant


What are the alternatives to a dental implant?

In order to fill an existing tooth gap, several other more conventional tooth replacement options exist that may be viable, depending on the number of teeth that have to be replaced:
  • Dental bridge (to fill on or more tooth gaps)
  • Removable partial dentures/prostheses (to fill on or more tooth gaps)
  • Full denture (to replace all teeth in cases of complete agomphiasis)

Since my friend only had to deal with a single visible tooth gap, the implant seemed like the best option to him. „Well, if an implant provides the best balance between aesthetic restoration and ease of maintenance, let’s go with it. How much will this whole procedure cost?”

How much does a dental implant cost?
„Good question. The cost of a dental implant, of the implantation itself, and of the permanent tooth replacement directly depend on a patient’s bone mass and density, the used material, and the exact scope of the implantation procedure. With that said, there are still some orientation prices available that could provide helpful insight.” told us the dentist.
  • Single tooth gap (not visible): starting at EUR 1.800
  • Single tooth gap (visible) filled with an aesthetically shaped tooth replacement: starting at EUR 4.000

In cases of multiple tooth gaps next to each other, a dentist may also use dental bridges because not every single tooth will need to be replaced by its own implant. For example, 2 implants and a bridge are sufficient to replace 3-4 teeth.
  • Price per implant: starting at EUR 1.800
  • Price per bridge member: starting at EUR 350

Selection of a cheaper tooth replacement option instead of an aesthetically shaped tooth replacement can potentially yield savings of up to 30%. Some insurance carriers in Vienna and Austria also provide a benefit payment to patients of EUR 200 - EUR 700 while other insurance carriers only provide financial assistance in medically necessary cases (e.g., tumors, etc.). Patients with private insurance may, depending on their specific policies, even receive reimbursement for 100% of the cost of the entire procedure. „Wow! Quite an expensive endeavor … But one only has one smile, so let’s get going.” said my friend to the dentist. Fortunately, everything went smoothly and today we can all look back at this adventure and laugh – even my friend with his barely-noticeable artificial left incisor.

Dentist placing a dental implant

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