- Whether you’re a good candidate for implants
- How the procedure works
- How much implants cost in Canada
- How you’ll pay for the procedure
In this guide, we’ll cover all of these questions and more to help you understand if dental implants are the right choice for you.
What are Dental Implants?
If you have a missing tooth, a dental implant is a permanent restoration option. An implant is comprised of multiple parts:
- Screw or Post: A titanium screw or post, which is inserted into the jawbone and will bond with the jawbone.
- Abutment: A part of the implant that attaches the screw and crown.
- Crown: The “tooth,” which is made in the lab and is made of ceramic.
Since they’re permanent, dental implants act and function like your normal teeth. You don’t have to take the implants out at night, and they can last for 20+ years with proper care and a strong jawbone structure.
However, there is a small risk of failure and risks that may make some of our patients poor candidates for implants.
Who is a Candidate for Implants?
At Lighthouse Dental Centre, we know that some patients are the ideal candidates for implants and others are at a higher risk of failure. We take a case-by-case approach to determining the best course of dental restoration for our patients.
Multiple factors are used to uncover whether you’re the right candidate for implants, including:
- Bone density
- Jaw structure
- Overall health
Our ideal candidate is one who has good general and oral health. Sometimes, the patient lacks the necessary jawbone strength to support the implant. A lack of bone can be caused by age, injury or reabsorption from missing a tooth.
In this case, if the patient is adamant about getting dental implants, we may recommend a bone graft. The graft will require either a portion of your bone or artificial bone, which is grafted and will need to heal before considering an implant.
The bone graft has a risk of failure, but if it’s a success, we can often strengthen and create enough bone in the jaw that will make it suitable for the implant process.
However, many patients are good candidates for implants because they have:
- Healthy gums. A person who has periodontal disease or severe gingivitis is at a much higher risk of implants failing.
- Bone density is a must-have to protect and support the titanium post. If the jaw is strong and healthy, you won’t need additional procedures before the procedure can begin.
- Oral health and hygiene should be good, including no infections, which may result in interference and increase the risk of implant failure.
- Tobacco use is not recommended for anyone seeking implants. Smoking impacts the mouth’s ability to heal, greatly reducing the chance of implant success.
Finally, if you have bruxism or grind your teeth, you’ll want to discuss having a custom mouthguard created with our team. A mouthguard will protect your teeth and the implant from potential damage.
Without seeing you in person and performing a thorough exam, it’s impossible to know whether you’re a good candidate for implants. However, with a quick exam, we can help you find the right solution to restore your smile.
How Does the Procedure Work?
Dental implant surgery is typically done in several stages, with time in between each stage to allow for healing. The entire procedure can take several months from start to finish, but much of that time is spent on healing.
Depending on the situation and materials used, some steps may be combined.
Placing the Implant
The first step is to place the implant. Here’s what to expect:
- First, your surgeon will cut open your gum to expose the bone.
- Next, holes will be drilled into the bone where the implant will be placed. The implant will serve as the root of your new tooth, so it must be implanted deep into the jawbone.
- The post (implant) will be inserted.
- A partial, or temporary denture, will be placed for appearance.
Once the post has been inserted, it will need time to heal, which means that there will still be a gap where your tooth is missing. The temporary denture will close that gap to improve the appearance of your smile while your bone heals, which can be a lengthy process.
Allowing the Jaw to Heal
The next step is to wait. Your jaw will need time to heal, and during this process, the bone will grow into and around the implant post. Once the healing has been completed, the post will, essentially, become part of your jawbone.
Healing can take several months, but it will provide a solid foundation for your new artificial tooth.
We'll monitor the healing process to ensure that your jaw is 100% healed before proceeding.
Placing the Abutment
The abutment is where the crown will attach. When the jaw is healed, we’ll examine the jaw and determine whether another minor surgical procedure is necessary. The procedure, if necessary, will be done in an outpatient setting and require local anesthesia.
Placing an abutment requires:
- Opening the gums back up to expose the implant
- Attaching the abutment to the implant
- Closing the gums around the abutment
We may also attach the abutment when the metal post is inserted, and this will eliminate the need for this additional step. Some patients prefer the second surgical procedure because they don’t want the abutment to be visible while the gums heal.
If this procedure is necessary, the gums will need to heal for two weeks before we can attach the crown.
What Happens After the Dental Implants Procedure?
Some patients get dental implants in one stage or several stages. In either case, you may experience some discomfort after the procedure, just as you would with any other dental surgery. Patients may experience:
- Minor bleeding
- Bruising on the gums or skin
In some cases, we may prescribe antibiotics. Pain medications may also help alleviate some of the discomfort. You may need to eat soft foods while the implant site heals.
Dental implants have a high success rate, but there is always a risk of failure. If the implant fails, it may need to be removed. Once the bone heals, it may be possible to try the procedure again.
To keep your implant healthy and to maximize its lifespan, it’s important to take good care of your oral health. You can keep both your implant and natural teeth healthy by:
- Practicing good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day and floss once per day. Interdental brushes, which are specially designed toothbrushes, can help clean those hard-to-reach places around metal posts, gums and teeth. They're designed for use with artificial teeth.
- Avoid chewing hard items, such as ice cubes, nuts and candies. Hard foods and items can break the implant’s crown.
- Avoid smoking and tooth-staining foods. Smoking has a negative effect on your oral health, and consuming tooth-staining foods (like coffee) can make your implant more visible if it or your natural teeth become discolored.
- Visit our office regularly. Seeing your dentist for cleanings and exams can help detect problems early on and resolve issues before they progress into something more serious.
Caring for a dental implant is similar to caring for your natural teeth. Easy care is just one more reason why many patients consider implants to replace their missing teeth.
But what about the cost? How much can you expect to pay for a dental implant?
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost in Canada?
Many patients are interested in dental implants to replace missing teeth because of their longevity and natural appearance. However, cost is always a concern when it comes to dental work.
In Canada, the median cost of a single dental implant is:
- $1,000-$3,000 for the implant
- $1000-$3,000 for the crown and abutment
Of course, the final cost will depend on several factors, including:
- The number of teeth that need to be restored.
- The type of implant.
- Whether bone grafting is required.
Other factors may also affect the cost of your implant. For patients who are concerned about cost, there are some options.
How Canadians Pay for Dental Implants
Dental implants aren’t always covered by dental insurance, but there are some options that can help make the procedure more affordable for Canadians, such as:
- Dental loans
Some insurers do cover dental implants, so it’s important to check the details of your dental insurance plan to see which procedures are covered.
Dental implants have a high success and survival rate, which makes them an excellent option for tooth replacement. Understanding the cost of an implant can help you prepare for this procedure if you decide that it’s the right choice for you. Educating yourself on the procedure and after-care will help you know what to expect and care for your implant properly to maximize its lifespan.