If you’ve lost any teeth, you may have heard that dental implants are the best way to restore your full range of dentition. It may even sound too good to be true: that a small titanium implant can be embedded in the jaw, and a porcelain crown permanently attached to replace the tooth you lost. Voila! You get a fully functional replacement tooth with no dental bridge or removable prosthesis. It is truly amazing how well implants can restore the use of your teeth, even when several teeth—or a whole arch—has been lost.
But then you are surprised to learn about the timeline and the cost. Not only do implants cost more than standard dentures and bridges—they also require day surgery and a multi-step healing process. It may take three to six months from the time of your surgery before you can attach a prosthetic tooth or denture to the implant(s), and a gum surgery is required before you can do so. You may be left wondering if dental implants are worth all the hassle and expense.
Are you ready to get the facts on dental implants? Contact our Knoxville dental office to learn more about the process. Knoxville general and cosmetic dentist Ruth Bailey will give you the facts you need to make an informed decision!
Greater Initial Cost, But Less Hassle in the Future
What’s important to remember is that implants may cost more upfront, but they usually do not need replacement. When you care for your implant properly and maintain a schedule of routine dental visits, there is only a very small chance your implant will ever need to be replaced. Today, implants have a success rate of 98 percent or higher. When properly placed and given time to integrate with your jaw bone, your implant will be a permanent part of you. This is a stark contrast to other forms of tooth replacement.
If you’ve only lost one tooth, a traditional dental bridge may feel quite sturdy, but it will not last forever. Like all restorations, a dental bridge will require replacement, probably within about eight years. Not only do bridges require replacement periodically, but they also rely on the health of the adjacent teeth for support. If one of the teeth supporting your bridge fails (e.g. due to decay or gum disease), your bridge will fail too. This may mean you would need to get a longer bridge, if possible, or it may mean you will need a partial denture going forward. Single dental implants do not affect the health of your other teeth, not do they rely on those teeth for stability.
An implant or implant bridge will be a reliable replacement for your missing tooth (or teeth), and is not likely to need replacement. You may pay more initially, but most patients get a lifetime of dependable service. If you are comparing the cost of a dental implant to that of a dental bridge, you may want to calculate how much it will cost to have the bridge replaced in another 8 years or so, and then again, and again—depending on how long you plan on living!
A Longer Commitment of Time, a More Natural-Feeling Prosthetic
As mentioned, dental implants require a healing period of a few months, during which time new bone growth in the jaw will stabilize the implant. This period is very important, because it ensures the implant will form a secure foundation for your new tooth or teeth. The result is that your new tooth will be a sturdy and dependable prosthesis—as stable as your natural teeth. This may be less of a concern if you are only having a single tooth restored, but when considering alternatives for partial or full dentures, stability is quite important.
No one wants to wear a denture that is only attached by the power of suction and dental adhesives if they can have an implant-based denture instead. Why? Traditional dentures are not attached to the jaw, and they can therefore limit the types of food you eat. Foods that are too hard or chewy may dislodge your denture plate, and embarrass you while you are eating. An implant-supported denture doesn’t come out until you choose to take it out, so you’ll have the confidence to eat any foods you want, without fear of embarrassing situations.
Better for Your Long-Term Oral Health
Implant-based dentures and partial dentures are also better for the health of your mouth, since there is no friction against the gums when you bite and chew. All dentures have to be replaced as your jawbone changes, and poor fitting dentures can result in oral sores and lesions. In fact, only implants can prevent jawbone resorption—that tendency for denture wearers’ chin and lower jaw to shrink over time. It may be a slow process, but anyone who wears a traditional denture will experience bone loss over time. Implants help ensure your facial appearance does not change as you age.
Do you want to learn more about the cost and procedures associated with dental implants? Visit Knoxville general and cosmetic dentist Dr. Ruth Bailey and she will help you understand the process. Millions of Americans have had enjoyed the benefits of dental implants, so why not talk to an expert before you decide whether this treatment is right for you?