If you have one or more missing teeth, you may be weighing your tooth replacement options. One option you must consider is dental implant surgery. A dental implant sits in the gum and jaw like a natural tooth. If you don't know much about dental implants, check out these four frequently asked questions.

How Does an Implant Work?

An implant is a titanium artificial tooth root. It sits in your gums like your real teeth do. Once the area has healed, a crown is placed on top to fill in the missing gap. The main reason implants are so amazing is that titanium can fuse to bone. In other words, as the area heals, the bone starts to attach itself to the titanium root, creating a stable foundation that is nearly as strong as natural teeth. Because of this, many dental implants last the rest of your life with proper care.

What Types of Implants Are There?

If you have a single missing tooth, you'll want a single dental implant. It's one fake root and one crown that fits right between your two healthy teeth. This means you can brush and floss around it like normal. An implant-supported bridge is another option. It uses a few implants to support the bridge instead of healthy teeth. This puts less stress on healthy teeth. Implant-supported dentures are another option. They can be removed like normal dentures, but they snap into place, so they are sturdy when eating, talking, and laughing.

Is a Bone Graft Required?

Your dentist may suggest a bone graft, which will require more oral surgery. If the tooth has just been pulled or won't be pulled until treatment begins, you may not need a bone graft. However, if you have teeth missing for a long time, you will need a bone graft. This is because the jawbone shrinks when there is no tooth to stimulate it. It must be strengthened to support the implant. On a side note, a dental implant stimulates the jawbone like natural teeth.

How Much Does the Procedure Cost?

Dental implants aren't cheap. If you want a single dental implant, you'll pay an average of $4000. Of course, additional procedures increase the price, such as a bone graft, extraction, X-rays, etc. An implant supported bridge will cost between $5000 and $29000, depending on the number of teeth missing. A full set of implant-supported dentures costs an average of $34000. Your insurance may cover some of the costs, such as the crown, but they don't usually cover the cost of the implant.

If you have missing teeth, a dental implant is your best option, but they are expensive. If you would like more information about oral surgery, contact a clinic like DSW Dental.