ARE IMPLANTS TO REPLACE MISSING TEETH - RIGHT FOR YOU?
PROS OF IMPLANTS
Properly designed and placed implants provide permanent replacement of missing teeth, for better chewing and health. Properly designed and placed implants are excellent anchors to attach crowns, bridges, partial dentures or full dentures. Patients do not have to deal with unsightly metal wires or clamps in partials or loose uncomfortable full dentures. Implants allow esthetically pleasing crowns, bridges, partial dentures or full dentures. Properly designed and placed implants usually have a long service life from five to twenty years, or more. Implants fill gaps between teeth preventing surrounding teeth from shifting, maintaining a healthy bite. Implants do not require other teeth to hold them in place, so adjacent teeth are not affected. Properly designed and placed implants are sturdy, and will not loosen or fall out while eating, laughing or speaking. Over time properly designed and placed implants fuse to jawbone and stimulate bone, preventing bone loss. Bone loss is unhealthy and can alter facial appearance. Implants can help you gain confidence to speak, eat and laugh normally, improving your quality of life.
CONS OF IMPLANTS
Although many general dentists advertise they provide implants, some performing im p la nto logy do not possess the education, training or experience to safely perform implant surgery. Implants can cost several thousand dollars, because they may require sinus lifts, bone grafts, expensive restorations, such as crowns, dentures or cost of implant replacement if they fail. Beware of novice dentists placing only a few implants per year - make sure you choose a very experienced surgeon. Even though the cost will likely be more, in a long run it will be a bargain. Dental insurance plans often do not pay for dental implants, bone grafts or sinus lifts, but they usually cover the cost of the restorations. Implants require open surgery to place the posts in your bone, which may cause complications under the best circumstances, such as infection, prolong bleeding, damage to other teeth, nerve injuries, delayed bone healing, jaw fracture, to name just a few. Sometimes, dentists fail to recognize and quickly treat complications, causing further jaw injuries, and possible depletion of general health.
Although dental implants may last indefinitely, restorations affixed to the implant will wear out and require replacements. Crowns or bridges over an implant can chip, break or otherwise fracture. They simply do not last forever. Competent design and fabrication in an experienced lab minimizes premature failure and replacements, so check credentials carefully before hiring. Making restorations over implants is usually more complex after implant surgery, sinus lifts or bone grafts - again, experience counts. You may lose bone around the implant, requiring implant replacement from any of the above complications.
Usually, it takes three to five months or more for treatment to succeed, but if you require bone grafting, treatment can extend over a year, depending on your situation. Be wary of dentists advertising instant same-day implants. A 2010 study found nearly half of all implant patients experience some form of complications over a sixteen year period, although some complications were minor. Sometimes the body rejects dental implants, especially smokers and diabetics, who have higher risks of failure, from eight to twelve percent. Implants can loosen and require replacement. Because each patient is unique, implant success will not be guaranteed by reputable dentists. Additional complications include insufficient bone mass, incorrect implant positioning, fractured implant, damage to surrounding tissue, including gums, nerves, bone, blood vessels or teeth, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Substandard surgical technique also includes drilling too deep into jawbone and causing permanent numbness in the chin, lip, gums, or nostril area, which usually require the implants to be surgically removed. Implants can be placed at the wrong angle, wrong bone depth, wrong size, wrong type implant, or improper placement that perforates through jawbone or prevents functional restorations. Patients with histories of Fosamax type medications for weak or porous bones are likely poor implant candidates. Patients with histories of chemoradiation treatments are usually poor implant candidates. Therefore, inform your surgeon of your complete health history and always verify his credentials.