Whether you lost a tooth due to trauma or a full arch of teeth due to dental decay or gum disease, a missing tooth can affect your smile and your self-esteem. Replacing these missing teeth is possible with a variety of different options. One of the most popular is dental implants. While dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option, they are not a perfect match for everyone.
Here at Soundview Family Dental, we understand how important it is to you to replace your missing teeth and restore your smile. But what are the pros and cons of dental implants? What are the reasons not to get them?
What are the downsides of dental implants?
While dental implants can offer a permanent tooth replacement option, they are not suitable for everyone. Those with small jaws, poor oral health, smokers, and those with health conditions that affect bone healing are often not good candidates. Here are some of the disadvantages to consider.
Cost of dental implants
Dental implants are a costly procedure. The average cost of a single implant can range between $1,000 and $5,000. If you want full mouth implants, the cost can range between $12,000 and $25,000 per jaw. For many, this cost is not a financial option.
Not covered by insurance
In most cases, your dental insurance policies do not cover dental implants. If you are considering dental implants, it is always a good idea to check with your insurance first. While they are unlikely to cover the full cost of implants, some insurance companies will cover the crown portion of implants, which can help with the overall cost.
Requires oral surgery
Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants require oral surgery. As with any surgical procedure, there is always the risk of potential complications, such as problems with anesthesia or infection.
Complications are possible
In addition to complications associated with surgery, there is a risk of other potential complications associated with dental implant surgery. These risks can include damage to surrounding teeth, delayed healing of the bone, nerve damage, prolonged bleeding, and jaw fractures.
Dental implants take time
If you are looking for an immediate tooth replacement solution, dental implants are not your best option. Your dentist will evaluate your existing bone density to determine if the jawbone can support the implants when considering dental implants. In many cases, bone grafts are necessary to help build up the additional bone. These grafts must occur before implants and heal before implant surgery. Depending on the type of bone graft required, it could be up to a year before your jaw is ready. Once the screws of the implants are put in place, there is another recovery period before installing the crowns. This second recovery period can take 3 to 18 months.
Requires multiple appointments
Dental implants are not a “one and done” procedure. They will require multiple appointments and procedures to complete, especially if you require bone grafts before implants.
Restorations require replacement
The posts of dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. However, dental crown restorations do not and often need replacing every ten years or more. While your insurance may cover these, this additional expense should be considered when deciding on dental implants.
Potential bone loss risk
Dental implants are designed to help you maintain the bone loss in your jaw over time. However, bone loss is normal as you age. If you experience too much bone loss through the years, your dental implant may lose support and need to be replaced. In this case, a bone graft may also be necessary.
Potential implant failure
Dental implants are typically effective for replacing missing teeth. However, not every dental implant is successful. On average, dental implants have a 5% to 10% failure rate, meaning your jaw will not accept and support the implant, leading to failure.
Who is not suitable for dental implants?
As we mentioned above, not everyone is suitable for this treatment. Many different factors can affect your ability to support dental implants successfully. While not all of these factors immediately disqualify you from dental implants, your oral surgeon will have to evaluate them during your initial consultation.
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Previous jaw radiation
- Bone diseases affecting bone healing
- Uncontrolled gum disease
- Certain medications, such as steroids or immunosuppressants
- History of teeth grinding or clenching
Alternatives to dental implants
While dental implants are not always an option to replace missing teeth, there are alternative treatment options that can help save your teeth before tooth loss or replace missing teeth. At Soundview Family Dental, our oral surgeons will discuss these possible treatment options with you and decide which one will best meet your needs.
Root canal therapy
An infection within a tooth can be often addressed with root canal therapy to help save the tooth before removal is necessary. During this procedure, the dentist removed the infected area of the tooth and the pulp. Once removed, this inner portion of the tooth is filled with filling material to preserve the root and stability. A crown is then placed on the top to seal the tooth completely.
Gum disease treatment
In cases of severe gum disease, the damage can destabilize the teeth, making them feel loose. If caught early enough, gum disease treatment can help treat the gums, allowing them to heal and restore the stabilization of your natural teeth.
If you are missing a single tooth, a traditional dental bridge is often a great way to replace the tooth. This restoration treatment involves a replacement tooth attached to two crowns. The crowns go over the surrounding teeth to provide stability, while the replacement tooth fills the open space. Unfortunately, this method is not as long-lasting as implants, and you can expect to replace them if they become chipped, broken, or come loose.
Full or partial dentures
Whether full or partial, dentures are a dental prosthetic that replaces missing teeth. This is a removable option that allows you to replace missing teeth while still being able to remove them for cleaning. These are a much cheaper full mouth option than dental implants, but they do not help you maintain bone density. As you age, the bone and gums will shrink, meaning you will need to be fitted for new dentures as this occurs.
Helping you achieve a healthy smile
Missing teeth can be difficult to deal with. Not only do they affect your smile, but they also affect your function and your ability to speak and chew the foods you love. At Soundview Family Dental, we understand how important your smile is to you. Our team of caring professionals will work with you to find the perfect missing tooth solution. To learn more about how we can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile, contact us online or call the office at (425) 563-6360 today to schedule an appointment.