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Need New Teeth? Advice From A Dental Implants Surgeon, Part 3
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Welcome to the third installment of our four-part article series in which we speak to an experienced NJ dental implants surgeon about replacing missing teeth. We ended off Part 2 with a brief look at the health benefits of dental implants and the kind of financial support patients in need of new teeth can get from dental insurance companies – not much. Let’s continue along this line of enquiry and find out if there is any assistance to be found for those who want dental implants.
All right, so back to dental insurance. If a patient really wanted dental implants but couldn’t afford it, what options might they have?
“Most dentists or dental implant facilities work closely with dental financing companies, which provide patients with the assistance they need to have whatever procedure they need done. There are all kinds of options and their representatives will work together with the patient to devise a payment plan that suits their budget,” explains the surgeon.
“But before you go straight to one of these financing companies – ask your dentist which ones they work with – you should thoroughly check your dental or medical insurance plan to see what it is they could provide coverage for. While they won’t pay for your implants or for the surgery itself, they very well may cover the costs of X-rays, extractions, sedation and other such things. Speak to your agent to ensure that you get the very most out of your plan.”
Right! That’s what you’re paying for after all! Okay, let’s move along and take a look at removable dentures. False teeth. Can patients who need all of their teeth replaced get dental implants?
“We routinely provide patients who have lost most of their natural teeth and/or been diagnosed with a “failing” dentition with new teeth using dental implants. In the early 1990’s a new dental implant procedure called the “All-on-4®” was introduced to the market. This made it possible for patients to receive a brand new set of teeth using only four dental implants and a fixed, implant-supported prosthesis.”
Was it impossible to give patients new teeth with dental implants before then?
“No, it was entirely possible… but it would typically require as many as 10 dental implants per jaw and several surgeries spread out over a period of as long as 18 months. Getting new teeth could traditionally be a long, painful and costly journey prior to the innovation of the All-on-4®,” says the NJ dental implants surgeon.
“Additionally, as I explained in Part 2, being toothless can have a terrible impact upon the health of the jawbone, because it atrophies from the lack of stimulation by the tooth roots. The loss of jawbone volume can complicate dental implant surgery because implants require adequate bone support just like natural tooth roots. As a result, the people who had been living without teeth or with removable dentures for many years would typically present with atrophied jawbones and would require bone grafting before they could get implants. This would be an additional procedure and therefore a considerable additional expense, not to mention painful and with a lengthy recovery.”
How does the All-on-4® differ from these more traditional dental implant techniques?
“We found that through the strategic placement of only four dental implants – and not eight or ten – enough support could almost always be provided for a fixed dental prosthesis, which looks like a complete set of teeth and gums. This negated the need for all those implants as well as all of those surgeries. It also, in most cases, bypassed the need for bone grafting, which saves patients many months of recovery and tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.”
So would you consider the All-on-4® the best approach to giving patients new teeth?
“If a patient is deemed a candidate for the procedure, yes! Far better than removable dentures and less expensive than traditional dental implant techniques.”
Stay Tuned for Part 4
Stay tuned for the final installment of this four-part article series for more advice from our resident NJ dental implants surgeon!
About the Author
Gina Butler is a science writer who regularly works with well-known oral surgeons, prosthodontists and NJ dental implant surgeons. With their help and expertise, she delivers the latest news and information on dental science to the public.
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