Dentures and bridges are common choices for patients who have lost teeth, but dental implants have become the most popular option for people who are looking to replace one or more missing teeth. It’s important to note that dental implants are not for everyone. To have the procedure, a patient must have excellent oral health and have a strong, dense jawbone. Even then, there are other things to consider. If you’re missing one or more teeth and your dentist has suggested you receive dental implants, here are some things to consider before making a final decision.
- They’re permanent. Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants are permanent. You won’t need any special equipment to clean them, you don’t need to take them out at night, and you won’t need any extra visits to the dentist for maintenance or replacement. Simply brush and floss regularly.
- They resemble, feel, and act like natural teeth. When it comes to tooth replacement, dental implants are by far the most natural looking and feeling option. They act so much like real teeth that most patients forget they even have them.
- They are extremely effective compared to other options. Common complaints from patients with dentures include problems with chewing, speaking, slippage, and embarrassing clicking noises. Another concern with dentures is bone loss due to the fact that there is no longer a tooth or root. None of these are issues with dental implants, and they boast a 98% success rate. Also, because they are attached securely right into the jawbone, dental implants are strong and resilient. There will be no shifting or wiggling.
- They don’t involve or depend upon other teeth. Whereas a bridge relies on the strength and stability of teeth surrounding the missing one, a dental implant does not.
- They can be expensive. Many insurance providers cover the full or partial cost of dental implants, but if not, they can be quite expensive. If this is the case, your dental provider will likely offer different payment plans.
- It’s an invasive procedure. Dental implant placement is a surgical procedure. It will involve sedation, some post-procedure discomfort, and healing time. Although it is usually a straightforward surgery, like all surgeries, it carries some risks. Some possible complications involve infection, nerve damage, or sinus problems.
- It may involve or lead to other surgeries. If a patient wants dental implants but their jawbone is not strong enough to support them, a bone graft will be necessary. Another potential surgical procedure is a sinus lift for patients who need the area augmented or lifted to make room for new bone.
- It’s a lengthy process. One of the biggest drawbacks to dental implants is the amount of time involved. Once the implant is placed in the jawbone, time must be given for the bone to fuse to the implant. This takes months. From start to finish, the entire process will take between 6 to 12 months.