Dental Implants FAQ at Austin Smile Center
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost to place a dental implant varies for every patient. Some patients present to our office with a space that is immediately ready for the implant, which is $1999. Other patients will first need an extraction or maybe a bone graft before they are ready for an implant.
Also affecting cost is the quality of the implant. The Nobel Biocare implant is made in Austria, and is 5X more expensive than other implants made in China or the Middle East. When it comes to implants, you really do "get what you pay for." If you pay for a cheap implant, then you will get a cheap implant.
The restoration for an implant might be a simple crown or maybe a bridge or maybe a denture.
Dr. Watson offers free consults for our future implant patients so we can understand your needs better. We can even request an estimate from your insurance provider. Dr Watson wants to be your lifelong source for quality dental work, and bait-and-switch and other questionable tactics do not nurture that relationship.
Why is Dr. Watson so much cheaper than the other guys?
Dr. Watson keeps his overhead low. This is the difference between shopping at Costco and shopping at Nordstrom's. You will find lots of quality namebrands at Costco, but you won't find polished marble floors and waterfalls, and you won't find them at Dr. Watson's office either. Also, in-house labs are expensive to equip and expensive to keep manned. We take advantage of the biggest implant laboratory in the country, Glidewell Labs. They keep their CNC mills running 24 hrs/day. Glidewell saves us money, so we pass the savings on to the patient. All these efforts add up to significant savings for the patient.
Did you know that some Google Ads categories cost up to $100 PER CLICK to be on the front page (i.e. "clear choice austin" or "dental implants austin"? If you click on that link during peak times, your click adds $100 to the cost of your dental implant. Yes, those costs are passed on to the customer. By carefully monitoring our internet expenditures and by staying off the front page of the really expensive categories, we keep our costs down and thus can SAVE YOU MONEY! Your internet searching has paid off!
What kind of implants does Dr. Watson use?
Dr Watson uses NOBEL BIOCARE titanium dental implants. He does not use cheap chinese implants. If you find a lower price for a Genuine NOBEL BIOCARE implant, we will beat it! Nobel Biocare is considered the Cadillac of dental implants, and they cost 5X more than a cheap chinese implant.
Austin Smile Center does NOT have the following:
Expensive in-house lab
Expensive full time lab technicians
Expensive advertising campaigns
Expensive office decor.
If these are important to you, feel free to see the expensive implant clinics. If your clear choice is to save money, then call us. Its that simple.
Do I need to go to other offices to finish my treatment?
Dr. Greg Watson is the only dentist that you will see when you go to Austin Smile Center. You will not be referred to another dentist to place your implant or to restore your implant. You don't have to worry about the "blame game" when you see Austin Smile Center. Sometimes the oral surgeon blames the restorative dentist for a bad outcome, and sometimes the restorative dentist blames the oral surgeon. Austin Smile Center is responsible for your treatment from start to finish.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
90% of our patients are good candidates for dental implants. There are a few factors that can influence healing and possibly jeopardize the oseointegration of the implant. With proper consideration of the complicating factors, many patients that are borderline in terms of acceptability can be helped with dental implant placement.
Diabetes is a disease that has a serious effect on bloodflow and healing. Diabetic patients often do not heal as well as other patients. If you are diabetic, but are well controlled, you may still be a good candidate for dental implants.
If your gums are infected, it makes sense that an implant placed in the gums can also become infected. There are some periodontal patients that have excellent homecare and don't exhibit active gum infections. These are the patients we can treat with dental implants. The great thing about dental implants is that once integrated, the dental implant is more resistant than natural teeth to any recurring gum disease.
Smokers are also at risk to lose dental implants. Its a shame, because so many smokers suffer tooth loss due to their smoking. Smokers have a hard time healing in the mouth due to the nicotine in cigarettes. If you can cut back to a couple cigarettes a day, then we can probably replace your missing tooth with a dental implant. Treatment with the nicotine patch in lieu of smoking will also help the implants heal. Nicorette gum and vapor inhalers introduce nicotine to the implant site and do NOT help healing.
video: how the different parts of an implant fit together
What is the procedure to get dental implants?
During your initial consultation, Dr Watson will take an xray of the area. We will discuss with you other procedures that may be necessary such as removal of failed or broken teeth. You may want to have a temporary crown placed on this implant as well, especially for front teeth.
During the surgical appointment, you will be completely numb. We do not use IV (propofal) sedation. We will remove the bad teeth and place the new dental implants. There will be a healing abutment placed flush with the gum tissue, or a temporary crown may be fabricated. We will discuss post operative care. Most of our patients only take ibuprofen (Advil) afterwards, but a little Vicodin sure helps you sleep better. You will need to take your antibiotics and use your prescription mouthrinse as directed.
Most of our implants can be restored after a 3-4 month healing phase. After we confirm osteointegration, we make a precision impression of the implants in your jaw for the laboratory. The lab will custom machine the adapters and the crowns to fit your new implant. We don't use off-the-shelf adapters and crowns in our office. In 2 weeks, the lab will have your new custom teeth ready. We simply screw them into place and you are ready to enjoy your new teeth!
What if I need a LOT of dental implants?
Many people face a hopeless situation where there are too many bad and broken teeth. For these patients, we remove the remaining teeth in a jaw and place four or six implants. This is called the All-on-four technique . A temporary bridge will need to be worn during the healing phase (about 3-6 months). You will need to maintain a SOFT diet during this healing phase so you don't overload the dental implants. Once the implants integrate with the bone, a bridge with 10 or 12 teeth is placed. Since this bridge is supported by four or 6 implants, it is more cost effective than placing twelve individual implants. The bridge stays in place all the time, and you clean it by using a Waterpik oral irrigator.
The all-on-four technique costs $27,995 per jaw. Compare this to the $30,000 that other places charge. Our price is all-inclusive and includes any extractions or bone grafting or whatever else is needed to make it work. Make an appointment for a consult so we can go over how the procedure will work for your particular case.
What is bone augmentation?
Augmentation is a fancy word meaning "to add to or to enhance." Sometimes a patient doesn't have enough thickness or depth of bone for a dental implant. You don't want to be able to feel the threads of a dental implant when you press your finger on the gums. Likewise, you don't want an implant sticking up into your nasal cavity. If either of these are a possibility, bone augmentation is needed. This is frequently done the same appointment for upper teeth, but sometimes lower teeth require a separate procedure for this.
Problem areas usually include areas where multiple teeth have been missing for five or more years. When you lose teeth you also lose jaw bone. Also, the sinuses tend to expand in the mid-face region, and sometimes we don't have enough room to replace molars with dental implants.
How do people pay for dental implants?
Most people use their credit card (MC, VISA, Discover, AMX) to pay for their dental implants, but did you know that we offer a 5% discount for cash payments? Credit card companies and even check processing companies charge the business a fee, usually 2-4% of the total amount. If we can save that money, we don't mind passing the discount along to you!
We also offer CARECREDIT. CareCredit is a medical/dental credit card. If you qualify, you can receive financing with 0% interest as long as you pay it off in the allowed time (usually 6 or 12 months. You can apply online at CareCredit.com.
Does dental insurance pay for dental implants?
Sometimes. There are some insurance companies that will contribute towards the implant, but it also depends on which plan the employer signs up for. Even if the implant itself is not covered, most insurance companies will contribute a portion for the crown once the implant is ready to restore.
If you are thinking about getting dental insurance in the private marketplace to help pay for your implant, my advice is to save your money. By the time the waiting periods are over and the monthly insurance payments are made, you probably could have had two implants placed!
How long do dental implants last?
There are many factors that influence how long a dental implant may last. Infection is the biggest cause of dental implant failure. High risk patients (smokers, gum disease, diabetics) are more likely to develop "peri-implantitis". With proper care, our hope is that your dental implant lasts 30 years or more!