What are the advantages and disadvantages of Dental Implants? Read on to discover more...
If you want the best solution to replace a missing tooth, dental implants are almost always your best option. Consider these advantages:
Dental implants work extremely well at mimicking the roots of your natural teeth. They look, feel and function much like the real thing. In essence, they're the next best thing to your natural teeth and far better than the alternatives. Anyone who has worn a denture can attest to how unnatural it can be to speak and chew.
Like your muscles, your bones require exercise and stimulation to keep them strong. When you loose a tooth, the foundation of bone that supports it begins to collapse. Over time this can result in a significant deformation. That first year after a tooth is removed is critical – that's when the most bone loss occurs. Implants help to stabilize bone levels in your jaw, keeping your bone from shrinking back.
Dental implants provide you a rock-solid foundation for permanent, non-removable teeth and/or removable denture prosthetics. Implants offer the security to speak and chew with total confidence, fitting so securely that you won't even notice them. You can eat and enjoy whatever you wish. Those who have worn a removable denture can appreciate avoiding the embarrassment and discomfort of wearing a loose fitting prosthesis.
Dental implant procedures have an extremely high success rate, even higher than many reconstructive procedures on natural teeth such as root canals, crowns and bridges.
Dental implants don’t decay, they don’t easily break and they don’t develop gum disease. This makes them far less vulnerable than your natural teeth. The long-term success rate for implants remains extremely high.
Dental implants help you keep your teeth. Replacing a missing tooth with an implant will, more than any other replacement procedure, helps ensure that your other remaining teeth will last longer.
How is that possible? Implants are not only more durable than other prosthetic procedures; they provide additional support to help protect all the remaining teeth – adding back what was once lost. Since implants are supported by your jawbone and not by your surrounding teeth, you don't need to have any tooth structure removed from your remaining teeth. Being untouched, your teeth retain their original strength as well as benefiting from the additional support the implant provides.
All other prosthetics, such as fixed bridges and removable dentures, don’t add support; they force the adjacent teeth and/or gums to endure a heavier load. Reconstructive procedures other than implants can actually compromise your remaining teeth. When the adjacent teeth are forced to work harder, their longevity can be significantly reduced. Fixed bridges require the adjacent teeth to be cut down, increasing the likelihood of root canal procedures and/or fractures, as well as increasing the load on those teeth. When bridges fail (not if), the loss is usually catastrophic, with one or more additional teeth requiring extraction. Removable dentures can actually behave as tooth extractors – putting tremendous stress on the adjacent teeth and speeding their demise.
Dental implants can help keep you looking young. According to Dr. Carl Misch, “The facial changes that naturally occur in relation to the aging process can be accelerated and increased by the loss of teeth. A decrease in face height from a collapse of vertical bone results in several facial changes… a deepening of the vertical lines on the lips create a harsher appearance…the chin rotates forward and gives a poorer facial appearance… the face appears unhappy when the mouth is at rest… can make the nose appear larger than if the lip had more support… has a tendency to “age” the smile… loss of muscle tone is accelerated… the tissue sags along the lower jaw with bone loss, producing “jowls” or a “witch’s chin”…people are unaware these bone, gum and facial changes are from the loss of teeth…” You get the picture, and it isn’t pretty.
People want to look good, feel good and enjoy all life has to offer. Expecting to stay healthy and keep your teeth for life is quite reasonable. Dental implants, particularly when multiple teeth are missing, can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your life. Being able to bite and chew anything you want, as well as talking and smiling with total confidence, can significantly enhance the quality of your life. Dr Misch states, “It is legitimate to believe that restoring the mouth to a more normal function may indeed enhance the quality and length of life.”
As terrific as dental implants have proven to be, there are still some drawbacks associated with them.
In the short term, implants certainly appear to be the most expensive choice. However, they offer tremendous value in the long run; proving to be an excellent investment in your future dental health. Sometimes a lot of money can be consumed in attempting to save failing teeth. A lot of time, effort, discomfort and expense can be spent with conventional treatment, only to see it all fail – dragging down once healthy teeth with it. In the end, implants are chosen anyways, when they may have been the far better choice in the first place.
A hole drilled into your jaw and a titanium screw inserted? That sounds pretty drastic.
For most people this remains the biggest barrier. The idea of a surgical procedure to insert a metal screw into your jaw is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies. Surprisingly, implant placement usually causes minimal discomfort. Most people do not even need to take any painkillers afterwards. Choosing implants actually may help you avoid further pain and discomfort in the long run.
Without question, implant placement can be very time consuming. From initial placement to finish, particularly when bone grafting is required, can take the better part of a year. As long as you’re not in a rush, the results are certainly worth the wait.
Implant work takes a higher level of knowledge and experience. Placing and restoring implants can be considerably more difficult than other reconstructive choices and not every dentist has received extensive training in this area. Unfortunately, many dentists do not even include implant placement in their treatment plans to their patients - a bridge is far quicker and often more profitable to place. A patient should never suffer the consequences of an inappropriate treatment plan and/or a dentist’s lack of clinical skills.
About the Author: Dr. Joe Bulger is a West Toronto dentist. He's also the owner-founder of Royal York Dental - a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.
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