If you are missing teeth, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the benefits of dental implants. Because they prevent and even reverse bone loss in the jaw, they’ve become the preferred option for restoring missing teeth. Still, it’s important to take a step back and consider the potential downsides of dental implants too. Here are some pros and cons of dental implants to help you make your decision.
What Are Dental Implants?
Unlike dentures and bridges, dental implants address the consequences of tooth loss both above and below the gum line. A typical implant-supported restoration includes a dental implant (the post or screw that is implanted into the jaw), a restoration (a crown, bridge, or denture), and an abutment piece that connects the two.
Dental implants are a permanent replacement for the roots of your missing teeth. They provide a stable base of support for restorations and result in a strong bite and more youthful appearance.
Pros of Dental Implants
For most patients, the pros of dental implants outweigh the cons. We recommend dental implants because:
Dental implants last a lifetime.
While getting dental implants is both a financial and time investment, they have a very high success rate and for most patients they are a permanent solution that never needs to be replaced. You may need to replace the restorations that attach to your implants at some point, but the implants themselves can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
Dental implants are easy to care for.
While different types of implant-supported restorations require different levels of care, for many, your oral hygiene practices will be much the same as with your natural teeth. Simply brush for two minutes twice a day, floss at least once a day, and go to the dentist every six months for comprehensive oral evaluations and dental cleanings.
Dental implants prevent bone loss in the jaw.
We mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. There is no other option available that maintains bone density in the jaw and even reverses bone loss. With jawbone loss, your bite is weaker, your other teeth can become compromised, and you may suffer facial collapse, which can result in a prematurely aged appearance.
Cons of Dental Implants
In some circumstances, the cons of dental implants outweigh the benefits, particularly if you have other medical issues that complicate surgery. You may decide not to get dental implants because:
Dental implants may require supplemental procedures.
One of the most common procedures needed to prepare for dental implants is tooth extraction, but typically if you have a tooth that must be extracted for dental implants, it will also need to be extracted for dentures or bridges. If your teeth have been missing for some time, you may have already experienced bone loss in the jaw, in which case you may need bone grafting or a sinus lift prior to implant surgery. These procedures add to the cost and time involved in the dental implant process.
Dental implants are costly.
Because dental implants replace the tooth above and below the gum line, they are more expensive than dentures and bridges. Compounding this, the full cost of dental implants is rarely covered by dental insurance. Paying for dental implants out-of-pocket may not be feasible for you. If this is the case, ask us whether you qualify for a monthly payment plan when you come in for your consultation.
Dental implant surgery is invasive.
Getting dental implants is a surgical procedure. If you have health issues that impede your healing or that put you at a higher risk for complications, you may decide that the risks of dental implant surgery for you outweigh the potential benefits.