Why Select Dental Implants?
Compared to dental implants, the traditional treatment options of a fixed bridge or a partial/full denture have numerous disadvantages.
Fixed Bridge: Previously, a bridge was the only fixed (non-removable) solution for replacing missing teeth. However, there are several disadvantages of bridges:
- When a bridge is placed, the adjacent teeth must be cut to hold the bridge
- A bridge is usually more difficult to clean because one cannot floss in the normal way. Special floss must be used to keep the underside of the bridge clean; otherwise cavities will form on the support teeth, resulting in the bridge losing support and breaking off the support teeth.
- The bone under a bridge will continue to recede (also called bone resorption) over time, which may result in noticeable spaces under the bridge. Dental implants placed in bone will help prevent this bone loss.
- If there are multiple adjacent teeth missing, the span of the bridge will be longer, resulting in a higher risk of failure due to bite force overload. Dental implants can prevent this risk by either replacing each missing tooth with a single implant and crown, or by replacing the missing teeth with a bridge supported by multiple implants. In this way, the bite forces are spread over multiple implants.
Dentures: The removable option for replacing one or more missing teeth. There are several disadvantages of dentures (full denture or partial denture):
- The possibility of a loose fit and inability to chew hard food or speak properly.
- A denture can feel bulky in the mouth and affect the sensation of taste.
- Jaw bone recession over time, resulting in a loose denture since it does not fit to the underlying tissue anymore. Dental implants help retain bone and minimize this bone loss.
- If a partial denture is made, some of the natural teeth may need to be cut/prepared to support and retain the denture.
Because dental implants have a higher success rate than bridges or dentures, dental implants over a lifetime can be the cost-effective as well as esthetic treatment of choice. However, each person is unique and has different circumstances. We recommend that you discuss all treatment options with your dentist and oral surgeon prior to making a decision.
The advantages of dental implants include the following:
- Improved function for eating and speaking
- Enhanced appearance and smile
- Greatly reduced bone loss compared to dentures and bridges, thereby the possibility of esthetic compromise or loose dentures is prevented
- Other teeth do not need to be cut/prepared as with the case in placing a dental bridge or with a partial denture
- Greater success rate (lifespan) of implants compared to dentures or bridges. The prosthesis (crown, denture or bridge) on the implants will undergo normal wear and tear and may need repair or replacement in the future
- Ease of cleaning for individual implant crowns- similar to brushing and flossing a natural tooth
The disadvantages include the following:
- Usually longer duration of treatment from implant placement to final prosthesis placement
- Usually higher initial cost
- May require bone grafts to support the implant if there is insufficient bone
- May require soft tissue grafts if there is insufficient gingiva around the implants
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as soft tissue grafting or bone grafting, may be recommended. If you smoke cigarettes, you should try to quit this habit since smoking increases the risk of implant failure.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without intravenous conscious sedation.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dentist. Poor oral hygiene and lack of follow up with your dentist for cleanings and check ups may result in failure of the dental implants and the attached prosthesis. If you grind your teeth (bruxism), then you should have an oral appliance (e.g.: night guard) made by your dentist to protect your teeth and dental implants from too much bite force.