Dental implant experience?

I will likely get one in the spring. Any advice on what to do or not do? My regular doc can do it but I will probably go to a implant specialist.

I’ve had one a couple years ago. Understand that they can take a very long time, six months or more. And it is quite, quite expensive. If I recall everything it wasn’t complex, just multiple steps with breaks in between to heal, then do another step, rinse/repeat. There’s a few recentish previous threads on the board.

Had one several years ago. From start to finish, it took a long time.

My insurance paid half, so the cost wasn’t awful.

If I had to do it again, I would have had the bad tooth extracted and then gotten a bridge. Faster and cheaper.

Some places may offer extraction and implant on the same day, but my dentist says it’s better to let the area heal several months after extraction before getting the implant. My dentist doesn’t do the implants herself, so she sent me to an oral surgeon in a nearby city. I went in for a brief consultation, then went back for the implant a week or two later. I don’t have dental insurance, and they wanted full payment in advance, either cash or a certified check. I think it was around $2300 to the oral surgeon for the implant alone, not counting the dentist’s bills for the extraction and crown. The day before procedure, I had to take a dose of a powerful antibiotic, and another dose the morning of.* As soon as I arrived, he numbed me up and then came back in about half an hour. The actual procedure was completely painless and couldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes. I was able to leave right afterward and drive myself home. I went to my regular dentist later the same day to get a temporary crown and take an impression for the permanent one. A couple of weeks later, I went back for the permanent crown. The crown cost somewhere around $1000, I think, so the total bill was about $3,300, plus another $150 maybe for the extraction several months earlier. I’ve had the implant and crown for maybe 7 or 8 years and they’ve never been any trouble.

*The antibiotics were the worst part of the process, other than the exorbitant expense. They really messed up my digestion, causing alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. They must have done a number on my gut microbiota. Suddenly my appetite went through the roof and stayed that way for six months or a year afterward. In that time, I gained back two-thirds of the weight I had with great difficulty lost and kept off during the preceding five years or so.

Once you get it, take real good care of it. They can fail.

I know it’s not cheap and not fast.

Cash or certified check only? That’s surprising for a Dr. or Dentist. Most take credit/debit cards or personal checks. Some will let you setup payment plans at low interest.

I had an implant of some sort, perhaps an onlay or an inlay. I don’t actually know what sort. The tooth required a root canal and after that, some of the remaining tooth was ground away, a wax impression taken of my teeth (very unpleasant) and then a post implanted. Sometime after that, the implant was inserted. It’s been there for several decades and I haven’t had problems with it. I was told to avoid toffees and caramels, though and I’ve done that. I think it cost under a thousand dollars, which was a lot for the time but for something that’s been there that long, I’m happy with the result.

That isn’t an implant. It sounds like a crown. Sometimes a post is inserted to help with a large filling or buildup for the crown. It’s not the same as an implant, though.

An implant is a surgical procedure after a tooth has been extracted, where a metal (titanium, I think) anchor is placed in your jaw to support a crown.

What eschodinger said. Illustration:

Had my wisdom teeth out when I was 43 and was able to arrange to get the implant post installed at the same time. No problems with that surgery or with any other aspects of the implant.

Now that I think back on it, probably there were other payment options. I paid with a certified check because they offered a significant discount for that or cash.

There’s a nerve in the lower jaw that has to be avoided. My dentist x-rays weren’t showing it clearly. He sent me to an oral surgeon for a scan with a much stronger machine.

They confirmed the dentist could drill for the implant without hitting the nerve. It’s a big deal. Your face can go numb and droop if that nerve gets cut.

Overall my experience getting an implant went well. I had waited over two years to replace the lower molar. The implant felt very strange and I bit my cheek several times. It took almost a week to acclimate to having a lower molar again.

Too clarify, I had both lower left molars pulled because of gum disease. My orthodontist had recommended leaving a permanent lower retainer in place. Bad idea.

I did most of my chewing on the right side for over 2 years. Dentist recommended replacing one molar with implant. (furthest one to the rear is still missing). So I would have a chewing surface.

Relearning to chew on that side meant biting myself a few times. My cheek had to learn to stay out of the way. :wink:

my periodontist said that my implant will last for 10 years. After that, it may or may not be good.

It was expensive, and took a a couple months between operations…But the implanted tooth works perfectly, just like a natural tooth.Until reading this thread, I had forgotten that I had it done a couple years ago. So it’s been worth it for me… zero problems (so far!).

Implants are the best way to replace missing teeth. Also the most expensive.

Just after losing a tooth in gums and bone that are otherwise already healthy an implant can be inserted and is likely to last a very long time. After teeth go missing the gums and bone beneath may begin to shrink increasing the difficulty of using implants. Some work may be needed to build up bone, that adds cost and discomfort*. But it still can work in many cases.

I’ve had 4 implants, got 2 at a time. One failed recently after 12 years, but my jaw was damaged as a child and I had very little bone still capable of holding implants. The younger you are the more important it is to get implants instead of bridges and dentures to preserve the condition of your jaw, but unfortunately as in my case the younger you are the less likely you are to be able to afford them.

If you need implants, or see them in your future, or need major dental work at all then you should be looking into good dental insurance. I had two dental insurance policies, one through my wife’s insurance at work, and then a second I got through AAA of Southern New England, a deal that is still available I believe. The second one from AAA was actually better because it covered 50% of the cost of prosthetics, only a fraction of the cost of implants, but still a substantial savings. Otherwise the two policies covered almost all the costs of X-rays and anesthetics.

*What dentists call pain.

Funny you ask. I’m in the middle of implant surgery. As a matter of fact I’m off for another CT Scan/surgery guide tomorrow.
I’ve had; Sinus lift (bone graft) upper. A couple molar implant teeth will go here; All On 4 lower jaw - temporary teeth still in.
Still to come; Posts (& teeth) to be inserted where bone graft was done; Gum graft (over bone graft area); Lower jaw permanent teeth, after which several appointments to tweak fit.
And of course, related extractions etc.
Message if you have questions. I reckon I could damn near open my own dental practice now. Dentistry is definitely where the money is. My money anyways :frowning: That & Veterinary.

Timely OP. I am at the last stage of my implant epic journey.

First off, it is/has taken a LOT longer than I was expecting. The oral surgeon did lay out the various steps, but he kind of glossed over just how long it was between each step. I had the tooth extracted back in Feb., and I’ll be getting my final crown just before the end of the year.

It is/has also been very expensive, and my insurance only covered a small fraction of it. So the bulk of the 7k bill is being paid by you-know-who. This has been a huge lesson in the difference between medical insurance and dental insurance. And no, the insurance’s lack of coverage is not because this is a “cosmetic” implant - in fact it is a molar so far back you’d have a hard time seeing it at all.
(Dental insurance isn’t about covering your “dental health”, it is about covering what they want to cover. Everything else is on you).

There is some debate as to whether my needing to wear this “spacer” thing (kind of like a retainer) 1) after the extraction up until 2) when they inserted the actual “implant” (the “tap” into the bone/jaw) was really necessary. My regular dentist pushed for this: his concern was that while the tooth was missing, the tooth on the opposite jaw above the gap might start to grow into the space. So the spacer thing was to keep the upper tooth from becoming “fang like” I guess. But yes, extra expense and probably one of the more annoying aspects of this process. I was to wear the spacer for 6 hours each day, for about 6 months. It affected my speech, and was just annoying in general.

As to discomfort, the tooth extraction was by far the worst part (recovering, not during). And there’s a bunch of treatments to do in the weeks after the pull (plus the antibiotics to take). The “tap” was no big deal, and I expect the final crown to be pretty straight forward and not uncomfortable.

I remember asking when it was first determined that my tooth had fractured whether I even needed a replacement, or if I could just do without. Not sure if it was just to line their pockets, but my dentist and the oral surgeon both recommended the implant. For the past months getting by without the tooth at all (I did not wear the spacer thing when eating), I seem to get by just fine. So if I had to do it all over again, I think I might question the “need” a bit more. (If it is a more visible tooth, then the cosmetic impact would need to be considered. But if it was a hidden molar again, I would definitely ask).

Feel free to ask any specific questions.