Nobody wants to smile wide knowing they’re missing teeth, and missing teeth come with their fair share of oral and even medical issues on top of their aesthetic problems. Dental implants are an excellent option for missing teeth and have many benefits. However, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding on this or any other type of surgical treatment. Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants, including all-on-four implants, and discuss how to prepare for changes to your lifestyle.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant acts as an anchor for a replacement tooth, which is attached to the implant via an abutment—a connector piece that emerges from the gum above the implant to hold the crown. Dental implants can replace one or more missing teeth, and they are a permanent solution that can last a lifetime with proper care.
Learn more: In some cases, same-day dental implants can be installed without the need for follow-up procedures.
What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Dental implants have several advantages, including:
- Improved appearance: Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, which can improve the look of your smile and boost your confidence. By filling in gaps in your smile, you can also prevent adjacent teeth from moving due to bone density loss, which, in turn, causes a more crooked smile or more gaps between teeth. Bone loss can also result in “hollow” cheeks or a more sunken appearance to the face.
- Improved speech: Missing teeth can impact your speech, making it difficult to articulate certain sounds. Dental implants can help improve your speech by providing a stable and permanent replacement tooth.
- Improved comfort: Unlike dentures, dental implants do not move around in your mouth and are comfortable to wear. In fact, they are so close to your natural teeth that some patients hardly notice them after some time.
- Improved eating and chewing: Missing teeth can make it difficult to eat certain foods. Dental implants provide a stable and permanent replacement tooth, so you can eat your favorite foods without worry.
A 2021 study examining the life span of 10,871 implants over 22 years found implant survival rates of:
- 98.9% at 3 years
- 98.5% at 5 years
- 96.8% at 10 years
- 94.0% at 15 years
Compared to dentures, which last a maximum of 10 years, or bridges, which have a lifespan between 5-15 years, properly installed and maintained dental implants are the most durable and comfortable tooth replacement treatments currently available.
What are the Drawbacks of Dental Implants?
While there are many benefits to dental implants, there are some drawbacks that need to be considered when making a decision concerning your oral health. These include:
- Cost: Dental implants are more expensive than other tooth replacement options, like dentures or bridges. The cost of dental implants can vary depending on the number of missing teeth and the complexity of the surgery. Your dental insurance might not cover the cost of implants.
- Time: The process for getting dental implants can take several months and requires multiple appointments. Patients must have enough healthy bone in their jaw to receive an implant, which can add time to the procedure. In some cases, bone grafting is required to support the implant. This procedure can also add more time to the overall treatment schedule.
- Surgery: The dental implant procedure is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. While complications are rare, there is always a risk of infection or other complications associated with surgery.
- Maintenance: While dental implants are a permanent solution, they require regular maintenance to ensure that they last a lifetime. Patients must maintain proper oral hygiene and visit their dentist for regular check-ups.
Are there any Possible Complications from the Implant Procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there is always a risk of complications from dental implants. These complications can include the following:
- Infection: Infection is perhaps one of the most common complications of any surgical procedure. In the case of dental implants, severe infection can cause rejection of the implants and, ultimately, treatment failure.
- Nerve damage: Patients may experience nerve damage due to the proximity of the nerve to areas affected by drilling and placing the implant. In these cases, nerve damage can cause pain, tingling, or numbness in the face, gums, or lips.
- Implant failure: In some cases, the implant may not integrate properly with the bone or may become loose over time. This will require follow-up surgery to correct.
- Gum recession: Patients may experience gum recession, which can result in the implant becoming visible or the tooth becoming loose.
Learn more: Get dental implants in Long Beach, CA.
How Should Patients Prepare for Changes to Their Lifestyles?
Before getting dental implants, patients should be aware of any lifestyle changes that may be necessary, such as the following:
- Proper oral hygiene: Patients must maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent infection and ensure the longevity of the implant.
- Dietary changes: Patients may need to avoid certain foods that can damage the implant or cause complications.
- Follow-up visits: Patients must visit their dentist for regular check-ups to ensure that the implant is functioning properly.
Dental implants are an excellent option for missing teeth, but they are not without drawbacks. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of dental implants, including all-on-four implants, before deciding on this type of treatment. Patients must also be prepared for any lifestyle changes that may be necessary to ensure the longevity of their implant. If you are considering dental implants, talk to your dentist to determine if they are the right option for you.
For those considering implants, it’s important to choose a qualified and experienced dentist like Dr. Tim Silegy to guide you through the process and ensure optimal results. If you would like to learn more about single-tooth implants, all-on-4 implants, or any other dental services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Silegy and his team. We are ready to answer any questions you may have and help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve!