dentalimplants

Cosmetic dentistry continues to evolve with innovative implants.

In the past, people with missing teeth had a limited window of opportunity for implants to be placed. Now, thanks to advances in the world of dental implantations, time is no longer of the essence. "Because traditional screw-based implants need a certain amount of bone volume to effectively fuse to the jawbone, patients are advised to replace extracted teeth within the first year," says Toronto dental surgeon Dr. Domenic Belcastro, DDS.

However, with today's revolutionary procedures, screw-bottom implants aren't the only options available. "It's not widely known that there are alternatives available for patients who have had extractions done as many as 10 to 15 years prior, are missing many or all of their teeth, or who would prefer to forgo bone augmentation or grafting to build their jawbone's volume," he says.

Here are three you may want to try:

1. Hollow-basket: This is a framework that sits on the bone and under the gums in the lower jaw. Because this implant system can make use of limited bone levels, it maximizes bone-to-implant connectivity and offers an incredibly precise fit following insertion. The approximate cost for implantation is $10,000 for the entire lower jaw, and includes surgery and lab work. Placing prosthetic teeth on the hollow-basket implant generally costs $3,000 to $4,000 more per tooth.

2. Revamped Blade: Made with flat, titanium metal that fuses to the jawbone once it's set in place, it, too, is effective with minimal bone volume. Costs range from $2,500 to $3,000 for the implant, which can act as an anchor for up to four prosthetic teeth, and between $3,000 to $4,000 for each prosthesis placed on the implant. Note: Because of its design, Blade implants are not ideal for patients missing all their teeth — they require a front tooth or implant to anchor to — and can only be used in the posterior area of the mouth.

3. Ramus Frame: A one-piece titanium rail, this framework stays suspended above gum tissue to keep dentures secured in place, is designed for people missing all their teeth in the lower jaw and is effective in those with advanced bone loss. The approximate cost ranges between $10,000 to $15,000.

As with conventional implants, these procedures require a 3-D CT scan before surgery to ensure patient safety and accurate implant positioning, says Dr. Belcastro. (The scans cost between $300 to $400 and, like tooth implants, are often not covered by health coverage plans.) They also require a consultation and health assessment to determine whether a patient is a good candidate for the process. "Generally, those in good health qualify, as do people with one systemic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension or rheumatoid arthritis. It's patients with two or more major health issues who typically are not recommended to undergo the procedures," he says.