• Dental Implants at Austin Artistic


    Dental implants are getting better every year, and what’s amazing is that they are also becoming less painful and less expensive!   Let me explain. 

    I’ve been placing dental implants for a decade now.  When I first started doing dental implant surgery, we were practically going in blind.  Dental implants are placed in the bone under your gum, but we can’t see the bone, only the gum tissue on top of it.  With x-rays, we get an estimate of the amount and quality of bone, a two dimensional estimate.  “Looks like you have enough bone…maybe.  We’re going to plan to put an implant…right there…or somewhere close.”  That was a pretty typical planning session.  We can do so much better now.

  • So how do we make the surgery more predictable, easier, quicker, less painful, and also cheaper?

    Enter the Cone Beam Computed Tomography Scanner (CBCT), or cone beam for short.  Cone beam is a scanner that we use in dentistry to give us an EXACT digital copy of your jaw bone, in three dimensions.   With this we can plan the implant surgery precisely in the computer, fabricate a guide based off of that plan, which we use in your mouth during surgery.  No more estimating or guessing about the bone under your gums.  Now we know precisely, before we even start.   

  • When this was first possible, a few years ago, it was very difficult to do.   There weren’t many cone beam scanners around, and the computer image had to be sent to a company in Germany to make the surgery guide, and it was very expensive.  So it was only done on very large and difficult cases, and then the costs were passed on to the patients, making implants even more expensive.  Over the past few years, scanners got better and cheaper and more accessible, the technology has improved, so the process can finally be done rather easily and inexpensively.  This SHOULD help bring the cost of implants down for the patient. 

    With this precise planning and imaging, the incisions can be kept much smaller and the surgeries take much less time.  On a single dental implant the actual surgery can sometimes take only a few minutes.  Because of the quick time, little trauma and small incisions, almost all of my patients tell me they had little pain and usually only have to take over the counter Tylenol or Advil for a day or so afterwards to manage their pain.  With the short amount of time surgeries can now take, this SHOULD bring the cost down.  Time is money. 

    Another reason dental implants SHOULD be getting cheaper is the surgical parts and equipment now cost less to dentists.   The reason for this is the same reason most things get cheaper. Competition.  There are a lot more companies making implants now.  This drives the price down.  In addition, patents expire, so more companies can make better implants without infringing on patent law.   Now dentists have tons of great choices for implants and don’t have to stick to the 3 or 4 large companies that were gouging dentists and continuing to raise their prices on supplies year after year.  Cheaper implants for dentists SHOULD mean cheaper implants for patients.

    Why do I keep saying SHOULD when discussing fees and the cost of implants.  Well the truth is dental implants haven’t gotten cheaper for patients.  The price continues to go up.  In Austin, TX the average price of a dental implant to replace a single tooth, including all 3 parts: the implant, the post (abutment) and the actual tooth (crown), runs around $5000 and up. In my opinion, that’s still too expensive for my average patient.   

    I love dental implants and dentistry today.  There is so much I can do for my patients that would have been impossible just a few short years ago.  Getting a dental implant is the closest you can come to getting your natural tooth back, and it’s amazing that I can do that for my patients.  Right now, we are offering a dental implant special, which reduces the financial burden on my patients greatly.  You can click here to read about the specifics, or you can give us a call at 512-292-9209.