What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that are used to counter tooth loss. Much like replacing a knee or hip, implants are a titanium root replacement. Titanium is one of the most biologically acceptable materials.
There are a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth; however, none have proven to be as functionally effective and durable as implants. In many cases, dental implants may be the only logical choice for the restoration of all necessary functionality of the teeth and supporting structures. Strong, durable and natural in appearance, implants are among the most successful dental procedures performed.
Do Dental Implants Hurt?
No. Amazingly enough, our patients report minimal discomfort after implant placement. It is common to have sore gums, which is alleviated by Ibuprophen in most cases. Patients are generally surprised how easy the procedure was for them. It is very uncommon to have any discomfort around the implant once the initial soreness resolves.
Are Implants Expensive?
No and Yes. The cost of an implant has decreased significantly over the past decade. When compared to other methods of replacing teeth, implants have a slightly higher cost. However, the durability of an implant is much higher than any other replacement. Over time, the implant becomes less expensive. Using generalized dollar amounts, a bridge replacing one tooth may cost $2500. Bridges typically on average last about 7-10 years. If the bridge wears out or decays, replacing the bridge is another $2500 or more. This is substantially more expensive that an implant.
Advantages of Implant Dentistry
Dental implants are stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts (bridges and dentures). Implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. Additionally, implants may be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness. For example, a single implant can serve to support a crown replacing a single missing tooth. Implants can also be used to support a dental bridge for the replacement of multiple missing teeth, and can be used with dentures to increase stability and reduce gum tissue irritation.
Success Rates of Dental Implants
Dental implants are among the most successful procedures in dentistry. There is no guarantee that an implant procedure will be successful, but studies have shown a five-year success rate of 95% for lower jaw implants and 90% for upper jaw implants. The success rate for upper jaw implants is slightly lower because the upper jaw (especially the posterior section) is less dense than the lower jaw, making successful implantation and osseointegration potentially more difficult to achieve. Lower posterior implantation has the highest success rate for all dental implants.
If you are a smoker who is considering a dental implant, your dentist will likely advise you to give up smoking before undergoing the process because smokers face a higher risk of implant failure.
On the plus side, dental implants are not susceptible to the formation of cavities; still, poor oral hygiene can lead to the development of peri-implantitis around dental implants. This disease is tantamount to the development of periodontitis (severe gum disease) around a natural tooth.
Implants and Dentures
Implants can also be used to anchor existing dentures. Imaging not using any adhesive and not worrying about your dentures becoming loose. Implants create a connection, like a snap, between you and the denture. Patients of ours can’t believe the difference. After suffering for years with a loose denture, they wished they had done it sooner.