Dental Implants

What are dental implants? Dental implants are metal substitutes for the roots of missing teeth, just like a prosthetic hip or a knee joint replacements are used in orthopedic surgery. Once placed, dental implants act as anchors to support caps or bridges. Implants can be placed as a single replacement or in multiples. One of the most beneficial uses for dental implants is for people who wear ill fitting lower dentures. In one single appointment, with only a little numbing of the lower front area of the mouth, several implants can be placed and the existing dentures can be retrofitted and held immovable by the implants.

Implant replacement policy — It is our office policy that an implant will be replaced free of charge in the unlikely event of failure within the first year. Any implant failure within the 2-5 year will incur nominal charges for operating room set up and laboratory costs.

Dr. Kirkorian has provided the answers to these questions. He also recommends that patients take the time to visit our Patient Education Webpage for additional information on specific areas of dental treatments.


Q: Why dental implants?

A: Dental implants may be the answer for you:

  • If you like to enjoy your favorite foods again.
  • If you want to get rid of dental adhesives.
  • If you don’t want your teeth to move around or pop out.
  • If you want to look younger and to feel better about yourself.
  • If you are tired of sore spots and denture adjustments.
  • If you want to smile again and not worry about teeth looking false.

Q: Who would benefit from dental implants?

A: People who:

  • Wear complete upper or lower dentures
  • Wear partial dentures
  • Have a few teeth remaining on the upper or lower jaw
  • Only have teeth on one side of the mouth and nothing on the opposite side
  • Are missing one tooth
  • Are missing several teeth on one side only

Q: Who can get implants?

A: In general, there are no contraindications for dental implants. People of all ages will benefit, for example:

  • Younger patients with congenitally missing teeth.
  • People of all ages who lost teeth in various automobile accidents, falls, or sports injuries.
  • Middle aged or older people who lost teeth due to gum disease or extractions.
  • Long term denture wearers who suffer in silence.

Since most of the missing teeth occur in the older population, they are the primary beneficiaries of dental implants. High blood pressure, taking various medications or other chronic illnesses do not represent a contraindication. However, smoking may be a factor in the long term retention of implants.

Q: Is the implant procedure painful?

A: Most implants are placed in stages. The first stage is when the implant body is placed in the missing spot or location. This stage in most instances is painless and is done in the area that has been numbed up. It is in general less painful than and extraction or a root canal procedure. The second stage is the restorative stage when the actual post and cap are attached to the implant body. This stage is not painful and in most cases no numbing of the area is required.

Q: How much do implants cost?

A: Implants represent a long term investment. The cost needs to be evaluated in terms of the quality of life improvement that the implant brings and how long they will function. In general a cap or a fixed bridge will last an average from five to eight years (most insurance companies will pay for replacement for a cap or a bridge every five years). Dental implants, in most instances, will function much longer and the costs are similar or slightly higher then the cost of making a bridge.

Q: How long do they last?

A:It is not uncommon for implants to last ten to fifteen years, or even longer, depending on the quality of each person’s bone and the care associated with it. In general, implants placed in the lower jaw will last longer then the ones in the upper jaw. Implants placed in the front of the mouth will survive longer then the ones place in the upper back part of the jaw. Regardless, depending on the amount and quality of jaw bone existing in one’s mouth, the implants will last longer then a regular cap or prosthesis.

Q: How do I pay for it?

A: Recently, most of the major insurance companies, recognizing the long term benefits of dental implants, initiated insurance coverage for dental implants. Unfortunately, all dental insurance plans have very low annual maximum benefits (ranging from $1000 to $2000). While our office will try to maximize your insurance benefits for all dental procedures, most costs associated with dental implants have to be financed either directly by the patient or by using one of our in house financial options. These options vary from six months to one year interest free plans through third parties, or longer term financing where interest is charged.