Dental implant surgery is an increasingly popular procedure used in place of dentures or bridgework. This type of surgery replaces tooth roots with metal posts, and then artificial teeth are implanted to look and function in the same way as real teeth. My dental implant practice is in the Waltham area of Boston. However, these principles apply regardless of where you’re located. If you’re considering dental implants you need to know the facts of what to expect. Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of dental implants.
Pros of Dental Implants
Here are some benefits of getting dental implants in Boston:
1. Enhance Your Smile
Most people choose dental implants because of the natural-looking appearance. Dental implants often improve the look of your smile. Because they’re fused to the bone similar to natural teeth, dental implants will permanently improve the aesthetics of your teeth, with greater than 97% success rate after 11 years by studies.
Dental implants can be used to replace individual teeth or dental implants can be used to create secure dentures or bridges. This can have a major benefit on the beauty of the smile. For example, if you have been replacing teeth by a removeable partial denture or “flipper”, you know the fustration. The cosmetics of a smile can be compromised by a partial denture. The addition of even one implant can allow a dentist to eliminate metal showing from a partial denture clasp.
Dental implants are vesatile. They allow for several different treatment options. What do I mean by that?
Dental implants serve as a universal building block. A single implant or multiple implants can be be used to create a variety of types of teeth depending on the needs.
Your implant specialist will discuss with you and gain an understanding of your dental restoration goals. Factors like your desired clinical result, characteristics of your anatomy, and the cost of treatment can be balanced to help present the best dental implant option for your particular situation. Oh and speaking of cost, you’re probably wondering. I won’t go into the specifics of cost of dental implants, but visit this article for a more indepth discussion of the cost of dental implants.
2. Improve Function: Speech and Digestion
Partial Dentures and Complete dentures are an easy option to replace missing teeth, but without implants, there are downsides. One downside of dentures is the negative effect on speech and digestion. Dental implants make it easier to speak since the person doesn’t have to worry about dentures slipping around in the mouth while talking.
Dentures also require a layer of acrylic against the palate. Most patients can adjust to the material but some have difficulty with maintaining speech. For these patients, implants may be a viable solution. By adding as few as four implants to the top jaw or 2 implants to the lower jaw, the size and amount of denture material can be significantly reduced which improves speech and allows the denture to feel more natural.
The normal bite force of chewing is 200 mPA. A person wearing a loose denture, doesn’t stand a chance of generating that kind of power.
The bite force can drop to only 10% with a denture. That translates into some pretty upsetting side effects.
Patients with missing teeth, or poorly fitting dentures usually have chronic stomach pain. They are also significantly more likely to be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome arises from loose dentures because the patient is not able to chew their food thoroughly prior to swallowing. With a larger portion of food being swallowed whole, the stomach and intestines are required to work extra hard to digest food. The result is more frequent stomach and bowel pain in patients with loose dentures. A 2015 study showed risk of IBS increased with number of teeth missing.
By adding dental implants to help secure a denture or replace missing teeth, the patient’s bite force can often increase to 100 mPA or more. The effect is an improved ability to chew food and ultimately a reduced frequency of stomach pain.
3. Regain a Natural, Comfortable Feel of Your Teeth
Once dental implant surgery is complete and the dental implant is restored with either a crown, bridge, or implant retained overdenture, most people do not even remember they have implants because they feel natural. Dental implants do not create any discomfort or include the disadvantages of traditional dentures.
4. Eat with Ease: Reduce Gum Sore Spots and Reduce Trapping food
Dentures and flippers have to be taken in and out throughout the day. This makes living naturally more difficult. If you wear dentures, you are all too familar with what is known as “sore spots“. Because dental implants can increase retention and stability of the dentures, they help to reduce gum soreness compared to dentures without implants. And it doesnt stop there. For patients that wear partial dentures, dental implants can also reduce the amount of food that gets caught in the clasps.
Cons of Dental Implants
Here are some of the drawbacks of getting dental implants:
1. Multi-Step Process
Dental implants are a much more involved process than dentures. The implants can take up to six months to fuse to the jawbone, but once the process is complete, you’ll enjoy them for years to come without upkeep.
Most insurance does not cover fully dental implants, making them a costly surgery for some. But the benefits usually outweigh the expense for those who choose to get them when you consider the length of time an implant can last which is often several decades compared to other forms of dental restorations which require replacement more frequently. We have provided information on the costs of various dental procedures if you are curious about pricing of dental treatment in the Waltham, MA area.
3. Some Patients May Not Be Candidates for Dental Implants
Although dental implants serve to provide multiple opportunities to restore missing teeth, some patients may not be candidates for dental implants. The two primary reasons a patient may not be a candidate are 1) Lack of available bone to place a dental implant and 2) Medical conditions or medications which make dental implants contraindicated.
After a tooth has been missing for a while, the bone begins to recede without a dental implant. There’s basically a window of time to place a dental implant. The ideal time period is generally under two years after losing a tooth. If it’s longer, a bone graft will most likely be needed to hold the implant. At a certain point, the bone loss may be so great that a dental implant is not likely to succeed. The dental implant specialist may advise the patient to seek other treatment options such as dental bridges or dentures.
Most patients with controlled medical conditions are candidates for dental implants. However, there are some conditions which need to be reviewed before proceeding with dental implants. Medical conditions which may fully contraindicate dental implants are:
- The treatment of osteoporosis with IV bisphosphonates
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uncontrolled cardiovascular disease.
Some relative contraindicates to dental implants are cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of patient commitment to oral hygiene maintenance. Your dental implant specialist will thoroughly review all the conditions and medications specific to you, and will advise you the best course of action to achieve a successful result.
My Verdict on Dental Implants
Of course there are both pros and cons of dental implants, and the recommendation depends on your particular clinical circumstance, however, in most cases the benefits usually outweigh the disadvantages.
If you’re a suitable candidate for implants, the option of dental implants is typically superior in function and appearance compared to the alternative options.
Their long lifespan means that although there is upfront investment in finances and time to heal, once the procedure is over, the investment in dental implants is stable and successful long term.
So there you have it. Now you understand the most important pros and cons of dental implants. If you’re ready to get dental implants and are available to visit the Boston area, contact us at Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction. We’re eager to help you feel comfortable, confident, and the best version of yourself with professional, natural-looking dental implants.