Full Mouth Reconstruction Cost
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It is easy to take our smiles for granted when they are in good health. But if you have several decayed, damaged, or missing teeth that make chewing and speaking a struggle, the value of healthy teeth and gums becomes overwhelmingly apparent. A full mouth reconstruction is a customized plan that combines several dental treatments to address these problems and restore health and function to your smile. The cost can range from a small investment to the price of a new car or truck, depending on the condition of your teeth, your dentist's level of expertise, the quality and type of restorations you receive, and the extent of planning involved in your treatment.
I have adopted a focus on laser technology, which provides many important advantages to my patients
Another cost factor is the technology your dentist uses. I have adopted a focus on laser technology, which provides many important advantages to my patients. I use lasers to treat cavities in near-silence without the use of a noisy drill, and to perform soft tissue treatments with a reduced need for anesthesia, and with much shorter healing times. These advances can produce savings: no gum surgery, no long healing period of months, no numerous trips to a referring office, and most services completed in one visit.
Dr. Dan Keith is an orthodontist with whom I have collaborated on several cases. He says lasers consistently provide a dramatic finishing touch to his work.
"As a specialist, it is exciting for me to work on large multi-disciplinary cases knowing that we can position the teeth in an ideal occlusion, and then refer the patient back to the dental office and see the superb clinical outcomes generated after applying laser dentistry," he said. "I have been very pleased, and even wowed with the treatment finishes. More importantly, so are the patients."
In my years as a dentist, I have seen the physical and emotional impact that a compromised smile can have on a patient. While the investment of rebuilding a smile can be significant, there are very reasonable financing options available that can place this life-changing treatment comfortably within your budget. Together, you and your dentist can explore treatment options, insurance coverage, payment plans, and financing options.
Designing Your New Smile with Advanced Technology
Your initial consultation and planning appointments are essential to the success of your full mouth reconstruction. Your dentist should analyze your smile, listen to your goals and concerns, and create a personalized plan that can meet your needs. I personally spend four to six hours during this consultation in order to gain a thorough understanding of a patient's oral health, needs, and wants. It might seem a little tedious, but once your dentist identifies your needs and determines the best way to meet them, the process can move quickly.
A smile analysis evaluates the look and function of your smile. In addition to visually examining your smile, your dentist may use X-rays, computer imaging, computer tomography (CT) scans, and intraoral photography to better understand the state of your teeth, gums, and jaw. The patient should be fully informed of the cost before treatment is started.
Understanding Your Budget
Be prepared to discuss your financial needs and limits during your dental consultation. When your dentist understands your concerns, you can focus your discussion on treatment options that can be made affordable through insurance coverage, financial options and out-of-pocket requirements.
Creating Your Treatment Timeline
It may initially seem wise to spread different procedures over months or years. In most cases, however, staging your full mouth reconstruction can result in a higher overall cost. When you wait too long between restorative dental treatments, your smile can change and may require retrofitting or repeated treatments, which lead to additional costs. As an alternative to paying for treatments one-by-one over an extended period of time, consider a payment plan that allows you to complete your treatment as soon as possible and extent payments over time.
Previewing Your New Smile
Previewing your full mouth reconstruction is an exciting part of the process. I often show patients what their restored smiles could look like using before-and-after photography. I take a picture of a patient's smile and use software to manipulate it in a way that shows what the final results can look like. This includes a small cost, but it can be very beneficial for the patient.
3-D models or wax-ups are the next step, built upon a mold of your current smile. Wax-ups show how your new bite will fit together and how your smile will look. This allows you to suggest changes before treatment begins. In some cases, you may also receive an intraoral wax-up, or a mock-up, that you can actually wear, feel, and see.
Treating Gum Disease and Tooth Decay
Before a patient can receive restorations like crowns or dentures, the gums, jaw, and remaining natural teeth must be free of decay and infection.
The severity of your periodontal disease will determine the extent of treatment you receive and its associated cost
I personally perform periodontal treatment in-office using a diode laser and the WaterLase® laser, which provide many advantages. First of all, I do not have to refer patients to an outside specialist. Also, laser treatments can require less anesthesia than treatment involving traditional methods. Both of these factors can save patients time and money. However, it is important to understand that insurance will not always cover laser procedures. In the end, patients should choose their doctor based on his or her expertise and the quality of treatment they provide.
The severity of your periodontal disease will determine the extent of treatment you receive and its associated cost. If your dentist can perform periodontal care, it can result in a lower cost and less healing time.
Treating tooth decay usually requires dental fillings. Fillings are usually made from composite tooth-colored material. If your cavity is too large for a traditional filling, you may require a dental crown. Also known as indirect fillings, these restorations are made in a laboratory, rather than molded within the tooth itself, and therefore are more costly. A crown could be the best investment in the long run. If a large filling is placed in a weakened tooth (for about ⅓-½ the cost of a crown), there is the chance of breaking the tooth, thus necessitating the placing of a crown, which would result in duplicate costs.
If you are suffering with advanced tooth decay, you might require a root canal. During this treatment, your dentist removes the infected pulp from within the tooth, preserving the healthy outer structure. Without treatment, the infection can result in tooth loss. Root canal therapy could cost between $800.00 to 1500.00, and will then probably require a crown.
Dental Implants and Restorations
Dental implants are small titanium posts surgically placed in the jaw to replace lost tooth roots and support dentures or crowns. Implants themselves can cost between $1,300 and $2,200 each, not including the cost of restorations. Insurance plans could cover a portion of the cost, even though the treatment is widely considered the absolute best way to replace missing teeth. The cost of incorporating implants into your full mouth reconstruction can depend on:
- Preparatory Surgery - If you have suffered with missing teeth for a long period of time, you may have experienced jaw bone atrophy, or a loss of bone density. Bone grafting, another investment, restores lost bone tissue. Some patients may require a sinus lift. This procedure involves adding bone tissue to the upper jaw to lift the soft tissues of the sinuses, creating room for implants.
- Number of Implants - In some cases, your dental surgeon may provide a discount if you are receiving several implants during a single surgery. It is important to remember that you will not necessarily receive one implant per missing tooth. In many cases, just a few strategically placed implants can support a partial or full arch denture.
- Implant Material - Titanium is the most commonly used type of implant because it is porous and biocompatible, so your jaw bone fuses easily with it. Zirconia is a newer type of implant, made from ceramic, however it is not as strong as titanium.
- Surgical Expenses - Your surgical expenses include the cost of any anesthesia or sedation you receive, medication you receive after surgery, and the cost of surgery itself.
- Abutments - Your abutments, which connect your dental implants to your restorations, are placed just before your permanent restorations. Abutments are made from titanium, surgical steel, or zirconia.
After your implants are placed, you will wear temporary restorations while your jaw bone becomes fused with your dental implants. This usually takes three to six months. Temporary restorations will allow you to chew while your implants heal, and give you the opportunity to suggest any functional or aesthetic changes before you receive your permanent restorations.
Also called a "trial smile," your temporary smile will look almost identical to your final smile. I spend a great deal of time ensuring that the temporary restorations I provide give patients a real idea of what their smiles will look and feel like. If changes are required, I notify the laboratory to make any adjustments before final restorations are created. Again, the cost depends on the services provided.
They are so real-looking," she said. "I smile a lot, but you would never know I had crowns in my mouth. The color is very natural, and I've been very pleased with them
Your dental restorations are usually the last step in a full mouth reconstruction. Their cost depends upon the type of materials from which they are crafted, and the type of laboratory that creates them. I personally use a domestic laboratory which uses the best, strongest and most life-like materials. Using an overseas lab can cut costs, but I believe the quality of work my lab provides justifies the extra cost.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that can be supported by dental implants or placed upon a natural tooth following treatment for decay or trauma. Dental crowns are made from tooth-colored ceramics or porcelain, both natural looking, durable options.
My patient Janelle received crowns about six years ago, and says her smile has never looked better.
"They are so real-looking," she said. "I smile a lot, but you would never know I had crowns in my mouth. The color is very natural, and I've been very pleased with them."
Dental bridges comprise several fused crowns that work as a single unit, literally "bridging" the gap in your smile. Dental bridges, like crowns, can be crafted from porcelain. Their cost depends on the materials used and the size of the bridge.
A denture is a single prosthetic unit that replaces all of a patient's missing teeth on the upper or lower arch. Dentures are available for as low $300, but can cost as much as $5,500 or more, depending on the laboratory and materials used. Dentures that feature a combination of high-end materials, like porcelain crowns with a zirconia base, may cost $20,000 or more.
While the cost of excellent restorations can be intimidating, higher-quality materials translate into a more natural-looking smile that lasts longer, fits more precisely, and is more resistant to chips, stains, and discoloration. Over the years, a better restoration can be a more economical choice because it can outlast its lower-quality counterparts in beauty and durability.
Cosmetic Finishing Touches
When I look at a patient's smile, I look at it as if I were creating a piece of art
A full mouth reconstruction can involve cosmetic as well as restorative treatments. In many cases, form follows function. In other words, treatments that restore balance and functionality to your bite will make your smile look better. A great dentist will evaluate your facial structure and the unique features of your smile when planning your treatments, and provide recommendations for enhancing the aesthetics of your smile.
When I look at a patient's smile, I look at it as if I were creating a piece of art. Your lips are the frame, your gum tissue is the matting, and your teeth are the focal point. It is very important that your gum tissue is proportionate to your teeth and everything is in harmony. Some patients require gum lifting if they have excessive gum tissue that causes their teeth to look worn or underdeveloped. Others require frenectomy, which disconnects the small piece of tissue that connects your upper lip to the gum tissue above your upper teeth. I perform both of these procedures using a diode laser.
Gum contouring cost will depend upon whether your treatment is performed with traditional tools like scalpels, or more advanced technology like lasers. Lasers are usually more affordable than services done the traditional way.
Financing Your Procedure
If you have dental insurance, it may cover at least a portion of your costs, but insurance companies generally only cover the most basic, inexpensive treatment options. For example, your insurance might cover the cost of a dental crown, but not a high-quality zirconia crown. Your dentist's team can help you understand and navigate your coverage.
There are several types of financing that can help you afford any treatments your insurance will not cover. Some financing plans are third-party services that provide low and fixed-rate interests. In most offices, credit card payments are accepted.
Choose the Right Dentist
One of the best ways to maximize the likelihood of long-term satisfaction in your rehabilitated smile is to choose an outstanding dentist. Craig Gallbraith is the quality control manager at DaVinci Dental Studios, one of the world's most highly respected providers of porcelain restorations. He says that although an experienced dentist may have higher fees, the investment can actually be more economical over time.
"It's difficult for us to provide great results if the dentist doesn't take measurements properly," he said. "In the long run, it may cost you much more to fix work provided by a less experienced dentistry."
Investing in Your Future
A properly planned full mouth reconstruction can be life-changing
A properly planned full mouth reconstruction can be life-changing. If you are suffering with a compromised smile, a full mouth reconstruction can be one of the wisest investments you ever make. If you are considering this treatment, remember to focus on your needs, not the price tag. Take plenty of time with your dentist to fully understand what treatments are necessary to provide excellent health, function, and aesthetics. Next, take time to consider all available financing options so you can find a way to break the cost of treatment into a manageable repayment schedule.
As you consider your options, remember that when it comes to your smile, spending just a bit more out of pocket can provide exponentially greater returns. After all the planning, financial arrangements and treatment, the only regret my patients voice is that they didn't find me sooner and had not waited so long for a beautiful smile.
Remember, Life is too Beautiful Not to Smile!
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