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Dental Implant Guide: Costs, Process, Risks & More

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a screwlike anchor that is used as an artificial replacement for natural tooth roots.A dental implant is made of materials that are compatible with the human body, such as titanium, implants have been used for decades in upper and lower jaws. By attaching to the jawbone and gum tissue, they provide a stable base for artificial replacement teeth, such as dental crowns, bridges and dentures.

Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or several teeth, or to support partial or full dentures. Implants and crowns remain inside the mouth and do not require any adhesives to hold them in place. Dental implants are the most natural looking restoration option, are ideal for replacing missing or badly diseased teeth. They are also a great alternative to dentures.

Dental Implant Treatment

Dental Implant Treatment

How Much Does A Dental Implant Cost?

The cost of dental implants will vary depending on several factors, including how many teeth need to be replaced and whether you require a bone graft or sinus lift. Typically in Australia, the price for a straightforward dental implant can range between $3,000 - $6,500 per tooth. According to the national dental fee survey for 2017, a dental implant in Australia (item 012, 311, 631, 633, 661, 672) can cost up to $5,563 per tooth. If you require a bone graft or sinus lift, a single dental implant can cost up to $11,500. With smile.com.au dental cover, you save 15% to 40% off the price of dental implants.

Select your state in the cost comparison table below for more detailed examples of the price of implants in your location.

Dental Implants Cost Comparison

Select State:

Item No.

Dental service

Regular patients pay

Example smile.com.au fees
(Could be less)

with smile.com.au dental cover, that's a saving of !

Source: ADA annual dental survey conducted in October 2016.

This example is a guide only. Your personal situation should be discussed with your approved dentist.

*This fee will be reduced by 15% off the practice’s regular fee.

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Why Get A Dental Implant?

Tooth implants have many benefits over alternative false teeth options. For example, implants:

  • Last longer than bridges or dentures
  • Prevent bone loss
  • Are sturdier than bridges or dentures, so patients can eat hard foods with no trepidation
  • Look like real, natural teeth
  • Improve self-confidence and the appearance of patients’ smiles
  • Have no age restriction on who is eligible for treatment

What Is The Procedure For A Dental Implant?

Dental implant treatment can take 3 - 6 months from start to end and follows a three-step process:

  1. Your damaged tooth is removed and the implant is placed into the jaw before a screw is inserted to prevent debris from entering. It will take 3 to 6 months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone, during which time the gum is secured over the implant.
  2. Upon returning to your smile.com.au approved dentist, the implant is uncovered and an extension called a post is attached. Once the gum tissue has healed around the post, the implant and post act as the foundation for the new tooth.
  3. Finally, a crown will be made to best suit your natural teeth, considering factors including size, shape and colour. Once completed, the crown is attached to the implant post and you can enjoy your beautiful new smile!

Dental Implant Procedure

Dental Implant Procedure

Where Can I Get A Dental Implant?

It’s important to visit a dentist that provides a high-quality and reliable solution for your dental treatment. Failing to visit an experienced, well-trained dentist can result in your implant failing to integrate with the bone, a broken implant, or a gum infection. By visiting a smile.com.au approved dentist, you are assured quality care and you can save 15% to 40% off dental implants by joining smile.com.au. With nearly 2,000 quality approved dentists across Australia, there’s sure to be one near you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Insurance Cover The Cost Of Dental Implants?

Health insurance extras in Australia typically do not cover implants. To have implants covered, you will need to have a high level of extras cover. Most extras cover policies include general dental treatments like check-ups or small fillings, but do not include major dental procedures, like root canal treatments or dental implants. No matter if you are covered or not with your extras policy, you can save 15% to 40% off implants by joining smile.com.au and visiting an approved dentist.

Am I A Good Candidate For A Dental Implant?

If you have a reasonably strong jaw bone, do not have periodontitis (gum disease), and do not smoke, you will most likely be eligible for a dental implant. You should discuss your options for tooth replacement with your nearby smile.com.au approved dentist. Each case is different and you should advise your smile.com.au approved dentist of your medical history during your consultation.

What Are The Different Types Of Dental Implants?

There are 3 different types of dental implants. Depending on your individual circumstances, your smile.com.au approved dentist will decide which kind is best suited to you.

  1. Endosseous Implants are cylinder or screw-shaped, made of metal, ceramic or ceramic-coated metal and are placed within the jawbone.
  2. Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal framework that attaches on top of the jawbone but underneath the gum tissue.
  3. Transosteal implants are either a metal pin or a u-shaped frame that passes through the jawbone and the gum tissue into the mouth.

How Long Does A Dental Implant Procedure Take?

The procedure of inserting a single dental implant takes approximately 1-2 hours. Approximately 3 - 9 months after the implant has been osseointegrated, your smile.com.au approved dentist will start constructing a crown or bridge to be placed over the post.

What Is The Recovery Time For Dental Implants?

The recovery time for dental implants will change depending on your medical and dental history, the condition of your jaw bone before surgery, how many teeth were replaced, and if you needed bone or gum grafting. Depending on your circumstances, the downtime could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. On average, it takes just a couple of days to feel back to normal. The complete healing of your jawbone and gum tissue takes approximately 3-6 months.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants have proven to be a safe and effective solution for replacing teeth for over 30 years. Made from materials that work well with the human body, dental implants serve as a strong and safe foundation for replacement teeth.

Are There Any Risks Or Side Effects With Dental Implants?

Any risks and side effects associated with dental implants are rare and easily treated. These can include:

  • Infection
  • Injury or damage to other teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage
  • Sinus problems if upper-jaw implants protrude into sinus cavities.

Although uncommon and usually minor, it is important to contact your smile.com.au approved dentist if you experience any of these side effects.

Should I Go Overseas For Dental Implants?

One of the benefits of going overseas for dental implants (to Thailand for example) is that it tends to be cheaper. Unfortunately, these reduced costs also tend to come with lower quality materials and questionable infection control, which increases your risks. Dentists in Australia must go through strict regulatory requirements to practice dentistry in Australia, and smile.com.au approved dentists are consistently monitored to ensure quality care. If you are considering going overseas for dental implants solely because it’s cheaper, first consider joining smile.com.au to reduce the upfront cost of your implant with quality dentists in Australia. Many smile.com.au approved dentists may also be able to offer you a payment plan to provide you with additional support, allowing you to pay the smile.com.au reduced implant cost over time.

What Are The Risks Of Going Overseas For Dental Implants?

Getting dental implants in countries who do not strictly regulate dentists or monitor infection control does increase the risk to your health. The two most common complications of poor dental implants are:

Infection

Placing an implant is a surgical procedure, and if your dentist follows strict infection control procedures, the chance of it getting infected is very low. However, as the mouth is full of bacteria, if the implant is placed with poor infection control, the risks of it getting infected goes up substantially. The most common type of infection with dental implants is called peri-implantitis, a type of gum disease that can cause bone loss and implant failure. If left untreated, you may need to have teeth and some of your jaw bone removed to stop the infection, it may cause sinus infections and in severe cases may cause septicaemia, which is life threatening.

Poorly Positioned Implants

To ensure long term use, dental implants must be positioned precisely and custom to your individual jaw. If it’s slightly off axis or poorly positioned, you will likely experience problems with chewing, hygiene, aesthetics and the longevity of your implant. You may also experience chronic ulcers and bone loss, which is irreversible. The solution to implants that are off axis is to remove it and replace the implant with a new implant entirely.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

Once healed, dental implants should be painless and comfortable. Immediately after surgery, however, discomfort and mild pain is expected to last up to a week. Your dentist may prescribe you something for the pain and to avoid infection; otherwise, over-the-counter painkillers can help to manage the pain.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

If cared for correctly, your dental implant should last a lifetime. The artificial replacement tooth attached, however, be it a dental crown, bridge or denture, does have a lifespan, which is generally between 5-15 years depending on how well it is cared for.

Caring for Dental Implants

Different dental implants may require different care. Your dentist will ensure you are equipped with the correct products, such as special brushes, to care for your implants.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is vital for preventing infection around your dental implant. With thorough cleaning and frequent visits to your local smile.com.au approved dentist for professional cleaning and maintenance, your dental implants will be well looked after, allowing you to enjoy them for many years to come.

Dental Implant Alternatives

The most common alternatives for dental implants include:

  • Removable partial denture (acrylic or metal)
  • Removable complete denture (acrylic or metal)
  • Tooth-supported fixed bridge
  • Resin bonded (otherwise called Maryland) bridge
  • All-on-4 dental implants

Dentures versus Dental Implants

Dental implants are often the most popular choice for replacing one or two missing teeth. They are the preferred option for replacing teeth because they preserve the health of the jawbone and gum tissue while most closely replicating the aesthetic appearance of your teeth. While dental implants give patients a secure, sturdy bite, dentures can be tricky to wear, less secure, and can even restrict your food choices. However, dentures are popular if you have several teeth missing and they are an excellent alternative for patients who are not eligible for implants. If you have a medical condition (like diabetes) that significantly increases the chance that your implant will not osseo-integrate, or can’t quit smoking, dentures may be the better option for you.

Bridges versus Dental Implants

There are several factors to consider when comparing bridges and dental implants, such as that:

  • On average, dental implants last at least 15 years while dental bridges last 5 - 7 years.
  • Some health insurance extras policies cover bridges, but implants are rarely covered.
  • Implants prevent bone loss from occurring, however some bone or gum loss can occur after a dental bridge is fitted.
  • Implants can be properly maintained with normal brushing and flossing, but bridges require a special floss and brush.
  • Both bridges and dental implants create a natural result, although implants have an uncanny ability to mimic real teeth.
  • You can be fitted with a dental bridge in as little as 2 - 3 visits over a couple weeks. Implants require a longer healing time and can take multiple visits over a few months.

What If I Don’t Get A Dental Implant?

If you choose to delay replacing missing teeth, or alternatively avoid treatment, you will likely experience bone loss. Patients who initially delay treatment can end up requiring bone grafts before having the implants fitted, which increases both the cost and healing time. Most bone loss, typically a 25% decrease in bone mass, occurs within the first year and continues to worsen after. Bone loss can lead to instability for your remaining natural teeth and impact your bite.

What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an incredibly strong, sturdy and long-lasting solution for replacing one tooth or multiple teeth. While they may periodically require adjustments, dental implants are a low maintenance option compared to other alternatives, like dentures.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are one of the most expensive teeth replacement options, with bridges and dentures often costing much less. Implants can cost up to five times more than other alternatives, which is why some health insurance extras policies may not cover dental implant treatment. Dental implants require a strong, healthy jaw bone for support, so if your bone health is poor, you may not be eligible for dental implant surgery.

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