Tag Archives: dental implants

Will Medical Insurance pay for Dental Implants

I have serious dental issues on my front teeth, including two missing teeth and a 20 year old bridge. I’m having trouble with other teeth as well. I’d like to take out all my upper teeth and replace them with dental implants. I have tried to use upper dentures on those missing teeth but the dental plate was too much. I couldn’t keep wearing it. If I don’t do something, I won’t even be able to eat. Do you think medical insurance will cover it as not having them will affect my health?

Becky

Dear Becky,

You brought up a good point about dental plates that I think others need to be aware of when making decisions about their tooth replacement options. Dental plates can be a nightmare for people with a strong gag reflex or a sensitive palatte. With dental implants, you do not have to worry about anything extraneous like that.

In the case of medical insurance, almost all of them have a dental exclusion clause. That leaves you looking to dental insurance to pay for this. While it is unlikely they will pay for all of it, they will have a percentage they will cover.

If money is really tight, I would look for a qualified implant dentist who also advertises as an affordable dentist. Just do an internet search using that term.

While in most cases you pay out dental implants in two stages, once after the surgery and once after the crowns or supported dentures are placed, affordable dentists may allow you to break up those payments even further.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Advice About Dental Allergies

I’ve been having problems in my mouth as well as with some skin conditions. I went to an allergist and it turns out I have multiple allergies to dental materials, including the elements in my dental fillings. Here is the thing. I need to get different fillings, but I also need to replace a tooth. Is there a safe way to do this given what we now know about my allergies?

Layla

Dear Layla,

Safe Amalgam Removal

Let’s start with the fillings you need to remove and replace. In order to do this safely, especially with your allergies, you will need a dentist who knows and has the equipment for a sanitary amalgam removal. This will be important so you do not inhale or swallow any mercury or mercury vapors, not to mention any other materials you may be allergic to that are in those amalgam fillings. I would also wear clothing over as much of your skin as possible.

There are two types of dentists that will be the most willing to work with you and understand how to do amalgam removal properly. The first is a mercury-free dentist. The second is a biological or holistic dentist. I would do an internet search for those.

Dental Implants and Dental Allergies

Dental implants are a little easier. While there are metal free implants available made of zirconia, the traditional dental implants made from titanium are very bio-compatible. It is rare for someone to have a titanium allergy.

The benefit to the traditional implants is their proven longevity and the amount of long-term data we have on them. Titanium has been used for decades in prosthetics, not just in implants, but in hips and other joints. The only downside to the zirconia is we don’t have that data as they are fairly new.

I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

What if Dentures are All I Can Afford?

I have absolutely horrible teeth. Like the worst. I’ve had 9 months of throwing up with four different pregnancies and then cancer to deal with. My teeth are literally crumbling and dental insurance only covers $1000 per year. I don’t have any significant “extra” money after the necessary bills are paid. I keep hearing dentures are the worst possible thing to get, but I don’t know what else to do. I broke a tooth yesterday while flossing. That’s what I get for trying to take care of my teeth. Will it really be that awful if dentures are all I can afford?

Macy

Dear Macy,

snap on dentures
Snap-on Dentures

You are in a tough situation. I’ll give you the best advice I can. Dentures are more devastating on the bottom arch than the top, so if you are left having to decide what to save and what not to, save the bottom teeth at much as possible. The reason for that is the bone loss in your jaw.

Once the roots of your teeth are removed your body recognized that and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere throughout your body where they may be more necessary. After ten to twenty years, depending on the speed at which your body does things, you will no longer have enough jawbone to retain your denture. This is a condition dentists call facial collapse.

If it turns out that you do need to lose your bottom teeth as well, see if you can get any dental implants for the bottom arch. These are expensive, but affordable dentists will be more willing to work with you on payments, especially if they know your situation.

There are snap-on dentures (pictured above) which can use as few as two dental implants. This has the benefit of securing your denture to your bottom arch, plus anywhere you have a dental implant, the minerals in your bone will be left alone, thereby protecting that particular area from bone loss.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

My Mother’s Tooth Fell Out

My mom is 85 and recently moved in with my husband and myself. We were eating dinner the other night and a tooth from the bottom part of her jaw just fell out. She’s very embarrassed about it. At eighty five she doesn’t have a ton of money and neither do we. What is an affordable way that we can get help for her? We’ll want to replace that tooth for certain.

Lindsey

Dear Lindsey,

An elderly woman smiling.

If your mother’s tooth just fell out, that means she is dealing with very advanced gum disease. This is serious and she is likely to lose more teeth.

In most cases, you would need to build up the bone in her lower jawbone and get dental implants for implant overdentures to prevent facial collapse. However, you asked for something affordable and that definitely is not. Plus, at her age, there is not much point of dealing with the facial collapse.

My suggestion is you save as many of her teeth as possible by getting her gum disease treated. She will likely need at least partial dentures if not complete dentures depending on how many teeth she loses. It will still be important to treat the gum disease either way, that includes if she gets complete dentures. Gum disease will have a negative impact on her overall health as well.

I am glad that she has you to take care of her. It is obvious you care about her and will do your best to get her the care she needs. If she’s been under the care of a dentist this whole time, I suggest you get her a new dentist. The one she has did not adequately care for her as he or she should have. In fact, I’d consider it malpractice.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.
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Two Sets of Teeth in Youth

I have two sets of teeth for some of my teeth. I mean that I have both the baby teeth and the adult teeth in my mouth at the same time. How do I fix this? I’m 16 and want a pretty smile before I leave for college.

Kaycie

Dear Kaycie,

teenager smiling with braces

If you have been under the care of a dentist this whole time, you need a new dentist. This should have been addressed a long time ago. You don’t have to see a pediatric dentist. It can also be a general dentist, especially at your age. Though, I would look for a general dentist who also treats children. They tend to be more patient.

To get your mouth in proper alignment, the first thing you will need to do is have every baby tooth that has an adult tooth erupted also extracted. Make sure whoever you end up with does a full set of x-rays so you are sure which teeth have the adult teeth.

From there you have three possible scenarios.

Scenario 1: All Your Adult Teeth Have Erupted

In this situation, you have all of your adult teeth and they have all erupted. If that is the case, the solution is fairly simple and can be done in two steps. Step one is for you to have your baby teeth extracted.

Once that is completed, step two is to have your teeth straightened with orthodontics. You are not limited to metal wires and brackets and more. These days, Invisalign can handle most cases. If you’re unfamiliar with Invisalign, they use clear aligners to straighten your teeth.

Scenario 2: Not All Your Adult Teeth Have Erupted

If you have the adult teeth, but they still haven’t erupted, your dentist can open the area to make it a bit easier. In most cases, they’ll come in after that.

Then, once they are in, you can then get orthodontics done as suggested in the previous scenario.

Scenario 3: You Don’t Have All Your Adult Teeth

In some cases, a patient will have genetically missing teeth. That means there never was an adult tooth to replace the baby one. When this happens, you will still need orthodontics to open up the space where all the teeth are in their proper positions. Once that happens, you will start with a temporary tooth replacement, such as a dental flipper, in order to keep the opening in the right place.

When you are older and your jaw is fully developed, it will be time to get a more permanent replacement. The ideal tooth replacement is a dental implant, so that is what I’d recommend. Though, your dentist can give you all the options.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

I think I was conned by an “affordable dentist”

I needed a couple of teeth replaced. The quote my dentist gave me for implants was higher than I could afford, especially because he said I’d need some bone grafting done first.  I called around to several dentists and they all said the same thing.  I was about to give up and settle on a removable partial denture, which was heart-rending for me.  Right before I scheduled the procedure, a friend recommended her dentist who didn’t require bone grafting.  I talked with him and he said he could do the procedure without the grafting and at half the price the other dentists quoted. I was so excited!!  Now, here I am many thousands of dollars later and both my implants have fallen out!! The whole thing, right out of my mouth.  Was I taken in? Are there no affordable dental implants and he was just trying to get my money?

Bella B. – Cincinnati

Bella,

The problem isn’t looking for an affordable dentist. There are affordable dentists out there who do great, quality work. Then, there are those who do just about anything to draw in business, yet keep their profits up. Those aren’t affordable dentists as much as cheap. 

 It sounds to me like the one you chose, said what you wanted to hear in order to get your business.  Mind you, I say that without having examined you, which may be unfair.

However, if both implants just fell out of your mouth, that hints to me one of two things.  1. You DID need bone grafting surgery.  Your teeth are held in your jaw by the bone that surrounds the root.  Without enough jawbone, your implant procedure was doomed to fail. 2. If you did have enough jawbone to begin with, then it is likely your dentist didn’t leave enough time for osseointegration (Time for the bone to form around your implant).

If I were in your place, I would go to a skilled implant dentist and have them look at your case.  They can likely tell you what is going on.  If your dentist was negligent, you may be able to get some money back in order to have the procedure done correctly.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Elderly Parent Losing Teeth

My elderly father recently had some teeth filled. He also has one partial tooth. All of which are in the same general area, in the lower part of his jaw. However, in the last couple of days, two of his front teeth fell out. Because his gums and remaining teeth are not in the best health, we are in need of affordable dental options to remedy the issue.

Thank you,
Mindi

Dear Mindi,

If your father’s teeth fell out, completely on their own, that is a case of advanced periodontal disease. If this is in fact the case, there are likely few to no solid teeth left. Therefore, you have a few options.

Options For Replacing Missing Teeth

The most ideal solution would be dental implants. However, your father would need a full-mouth reconstruction, which would likely cost over $20,000.

Another option to consider is removable dentures. One problem with removable dentures is they cause bone resorption. However, since your father is in his elderly years, this would not be an issue.

A third option is a partial denture. A partial is built like a complete denture, but has holes in it, allowing the existing teeth to poke through. This is a more stable option that allows holes to be closed up with artificial teeth should additional teeth fall out.

If you have not already done so, you should consult with your dentist, and let him know your father’s budget constraints up front. His dentist will likely share financial options with you, that will make the dental treatments more affordable.

This blog post was brought to you by Phoenix affordable dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dentist Suggesting Implants for Child?

My son had several failed root canal treatments on a tooth damaged in an accident. He’s going to lose the tooth and I was looking into replacement options. My dentist suggested dental implants were the best tooth replacement. My son’s only ten-years-old so I’m not too keen on the idea of another surgery for him after an extraction. Couldn’t I do something like a dental bridge instead?

Abigail

Dear Abigail,

A woman and her dentist smiling

I’m a little concerned here. Are you certain your dentist understood this procedure was for your ten-year-old son? While a dental implant is a fantastic replacement option for an adult, children are absolutely NOT candidates for dental implants. They can’t get them. Their jaws are still growing and developing. The implants stay fixed and will not grow and shift with their jaw the way their natural teeth will.

The standard procedure is to get a temporary tooth replacement until the child’s development is completed and then switch it out for a dental implant when his body is ready.

What’s the Right Temporary Replacement for a Child’s Tooth?

What about your suggestion of a dental bridge? You’re correct that it wouldn’t require surgery. However, it does require your dentist to grind down your son’s two healthy adjacent teeth. I’d hate for him to lose tooth structure unnecessarily. This wouldn’t be a temporary solution. A dental bridge is a permanent restoration, though it will likely have to be replaced many times over the years as he grows.

dental flipper
A Dental Flipper

Ideally, you’d want an inexpensive solution which won’t affect any of his other teeth while he finishes growing. In that case, I’d recommend a dental flipper. It’s a respectable restoration. His friends won’t know it’s fake unless he thinks it’s cool and shows them. Yes, it is removable and he could lose it. But, truthfully, you could purchase several dental flippers for the cost of one bridge. If your son does misplace one, it could be a good lesson in responsibility where he has to mow neighborhood lawns to pay back the money he owes you for the replacement.

Then, when he’s stopped growing, you can take him to a skilled implant dentist. If your dentist actually was suggesting a dental implant for a ten-year-old, it means your dentist is incompetent. Following through with his advice would have put your son at great risk. You need to find a new dentist—double quick.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Can I Dump My Dentures?

I wish I’d been born 30 years later than I was! There are so many marvelous advancements everywhere that life would have been so much easier. One of those is with my stinking dentures. I hate them. Passionately. Now I hear they have dental implants which are like having real teeth. They don’t move or slip out. Am I too old to get those and dump my dentures?

Eugenia

Dear Eugenia,

Too Old for Dental Implants?

I have a feeling you’re quite the spitfire. Just so you know, you’re not the only dental patient who’d like to dump their dentures. You’re definitely not too old to do it. However, there may be one procedure you’d need first before going forward.

You mentioned your dentures slip and even come out. That’s due to the length of time you’ve had dentures. You’re suffering from what’s known as facial collapse. Your body reabsorbs the minerals in your jawbone after your teeth are gone to use elsewhere throughout your body. That has the unfortunate side effect of shrinking your jawbone.

Without enough bone structure, there will be nowhere to anchor the dental implants. Don’t despair, though. A simple procedure called bone grafting can build back up the bone in your jaw. This will give you the support you need to retain the implants.

With dental implants, you’ll be able to eat what you want without anything getting underneath your dentures. You’ll never have to worry about them slipping, AND you’ll look even younger with your jaw built back up. How’s that for a plus?

Which Dentist Should Do Your Implants?

Before you jump into this, be very careful in choosing what dentist you choose to do the dental implant procedure. Make sure they have lots of experience and a high success rate. You’ll want a success rate of at least 98%.

Here’s how it will work. First, you’ll get the bone grafting done, which is a one-day procedure. After you’ve healed from that, it’s time for the dental implant surgery. Once you’re healed from the surgery, then your dentist will place your overdentures which attach to the implants.

Let us know if you get it done and send us a picture of your new smile.
This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Affordable Solutions for Teeth Falling Out

My mom is almost 87. She recently had to have a filling and then later that day when I went to check on her two teeth just fell out. Her dentist never even mentioned they were a problem. I can’t just leave her that way. She needs to replace them, but I don’t know if a bridge is a good idea at her age. Maybe her other teeth are too old? What would be an affordable solution for her?

Bridgett

Dear Bridgett,

I need to say up front it sounds like your mother needs a different dentist. If she has teeth just falling out from no obvious issue, it means she has an advanced periodontal disease. He should be checking her gums at her regular check-ups and warning her about the state of her gums. There are steps which can be taken to treat gum disease.

If I’m right and she has gum disease a dental bridge is out of the question. It will just pull out the remaining teeth it’s attached to. Ideally, you’d replace missing teeth with dental implants, but that’s also out of the question with gum disease. Plus, you asked for an affordable solution. Dental implants can cost upwards of $40,000.

An image of complete dentures

Normally, I wouldn’t recommend dentures because of their complications with bone resorption. However, your mother is 87. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for her. It usually takes between 10 and 20 years for it to become a problem. Now, if your family has a history of centenarians, you may reconsider. But most don’t.

Cu-Sil partial denture

If you go to another dentist who thinks he can save quite a bit of her teeth, please do that. You don’t have to lose all your teeth to get dentures. There is something called a Cu-Sil partial (pictured directly above). It will leave holes for her healthy teeth. It uses little rubber rings to keep it secure to her teeth. It actually makes it more stable. Then, if the tooth is lost in the future, it’s simply a matter of closing up the hole and adding another false tooth.

Affordable Dentists Will Work with You

Most patients, especially elderly ones, don’t have the funds to just pay for large procedures outright. However, most dentists are willing to work with patients giving them payment plans. If you can’t find a dentist like that. Sign your mother up for Care Credit. It’s a medical credit card of sorts, which will allow her to pay off her treatments slowly. In fact, depending on the state of her credit, she can even get 0% interest as she pays it off. They also have no penalty for early repayment, so it’s a win-win situation.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.