I lost a tooth almost 12 years ago. I plan on getting a dental implant now that finances are better. However, when I went in for my consultation, my dentist mentioned I’ve lost bone in that area and will need some grafting done. My sister told me that he could have done a socket preservation procedure when he first took out my tooth and I wouldn’t need the grafting now. She recently had a tooth out and her dentist recommended it. Should my dentist pay for my grafting? I’m pretty sure he never offered that option to me when my tooth was removed.
The socket preservation procedure your sister referred to was fairly new back when you had your tooth removed. We didn’t have much data at oll on how well the procedure worked. The cost was often prohibitive for patients. Even today, not all dentists offer the treatment option.
The procedure is quite similar to a bone graft and is done by placing bone material in the socket which can fill in the gap over the years. There is still very little data on the longevity of the procedure. Even some successful cases had to have some bone grafting done later anyway, though less than they would have if they hadn’t done it.
Bone Loss after Tooth Extractions
When any teeth are removed, your body recognizes that. In an effort to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resources, it will begin to resorb the minerals in your bone to use elsewhere. 40-60% of your bone is lost within the first three years, though the rate of absorption slows significantly after those first few years.
I don’t think you have a case to get your dentist to pay for your bone grafting. Even if he didn’t offer the procedure to you at the time, which in all honesty there is no way to know, because it was a procedure just getting started he didn’t do anything wrong not suggesting it.
You Don’t Have to Pay for Dental Implants all at Once
You can pay for the bone grafting, then take a break. The implant procedure is paid for in two phases. First, the dental implant itself. Then there is a period of healing while the bone integrates with the implant. This is an imperative step. Without it the implant will fail.
Once that is completed, then the second half of the procedure will commence along with the second payment. That is when the dentist will place the dental crown on top of the implant.
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.