Dental Implants FAQ at Austin Smile Center
How much do dental implants cost?
Our every day low price of a dental implant at Austin Smile Center is $1999. This is the fee for the surgery and the "screw." This price is assuming that you already had the tooth removed and you don't need any bone augmentation (grafting). Once the implant heals, you will need a crown and an adapter (abutment) to make it work (another $1999).
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. Retail strip centers seem pedestrian, but the rent is cheaper than fancy office suites with views of downtown Austin. 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.
Update: There is a new material being investigated for dental implants, ceramic. We do not recommend the new ceramic dental implants. There is not enough evidence to justify their use and we will not experiment with your smile.
Austin Smile Center does NOT have the following:
Expensive in-house lab
Expensive full time lab technicians
Expensive advertising campaigns
Expensive office suites.
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.
What is the total cost of a dental implant?
It is hard to give a total cost over the phone, which is why we offer free consults for our implants. During your consult, Dr. Watson will ask you what is most important to you when it comes to your new implant: cost or looks. Below is a list of procedures that may be required to make your dental implant work or look right. I hope you do not get scared off by some of these fees. Our prices are VERY COMPETITIVE. Many times we will have a patient from another office that has been told that he needs a bone graft to make the implant work. That isn't always true. We will give you all your options so you can decide if that bone graft (or whatever) is truly needed.
If you decide to have the implant placed,we are required by Texas to perform at the minimum a "limited" exam which includes an oral cancer screening, blood pressure screening, review of health history and a review of dental history. We also assess your remaining teeth to be sure that dental implants are in your best interest.
Bone is needed on occasion. If there is a large defect in the bone due to a dental abcess or an extraction, the implant may not tighten properly. Bone will be needed to reinforce the area during healing. The internet fee for simple bone augmentation at the time of implant placement is $499. If the bone graft material has to be placed on the side of your bone, a barrier membrane will be needed to prevent the gums from growing into this bone graft. The charge for the barrier membrane is an additional $499.
If an upper back tooth has been gone for a while, you may not have enough bone to place an implant. A closed-flap sinus lift is done to expand the bone into the sinus area so that there is enough bone to cover the implant. The internet fee for this and the necessary bone augmentation is $499 IF it can be done at the time of implant surgery.
If you have been missing back teeth for a while, then you may have lost a significant portion of the boney ridge. We can build up this ridge, but it usually requires a separate procedure and time to heal. Our internet fee for this is $1199.
Once the implant heals to the bone, the fee to restore it with a custom porcelain crown is $1499 (internet special). .
We price our services very competitively because we want your business! If you want to compare estimates, bring in your estimate from the other office to your free consult. We are confident that we can beat any price in Austin on NOBEL BIOCARE implants.
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.
Patients with gum disease (periodontitis). If your gums are infected, it makes sense that an implant placed in the gums can also become infected. There are a few patients that have excellent homecare and don't exhibit active gum infections. These are the patients we can treat with dental implants. Adequate antibiotics before and after the implant surgery is necessary. 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. The substitution of the nicotine patch for your cigarettes 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.
90% of our implants can be restored after a 3 months 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 three 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 of bone to place 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 placed.
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 and breakage of the crown are the two biggest causes of dental implant failure. A broken crown is easy to fix-we simply make a new one for you. An infection can be harder to deal with. High risk patients (smokers, gum disease, diabetics) are most likely to develop "peri-implantitis". We can't control what you do with a dental implant once you leave our office. With proper care, our hope is that your dental implant lasts 30 years or more!