If you have a missing tooth, you are probably considering whether a dental implant will be suitable for you, and may benefit from learning about the associated pros and cons. In many ways, implants have great advantages over alternatives such as a bridge or denture. However, there can be a downside to having a dental implant. You can weigh up whether an implant is right for you by examining relevant information.
Unlike a denture, an implant does not move around. It is fixed into the mouth via false roots and will not come loose. Two benefits of having an implant are that you do not need to go through the rigmarole of taking your tooth out to clean it separately, or sticking it in place with a product designed to prevent slippage.
As a denture can become loose, it can cause embarrassment and discomfort. Slurred speech can be the result of a loose false tooth, and eating may be difficult. You cannot usually bite down on a denture when eating. With an implant, you will be able to eat normally, just as you did when you had a real tooth in place.
Although the crown of an implant has to be replaced every ten to fifteen years, the implant itself should last a lifetime with proper care.
An implant is similar to a real tooth. It can be cleaned in the same way along with real teeth. This provides better oral health than a bridge, which is attached to another tooth, or both side teeth, leaving no gap in which to closely attend to cleaning.
With a dental implant, you will feel confident enough to smile broadly, eat in public, kiss and talk without being worried that your tooth will come loose.
A bridge or a denture could be uncomfortable and feel unnatural. A dental implant will feel natural and normal.
If you have a bridge, the two teeth either side of it will be shortened in order for caps to go over them, as this is how the new false tooth stays in place. If you have an implant, none of your other teeth will be damaged in this way.
Stops bone loss and tooth slippage
When a tooth is missing, the teeth either side of the gap produced may begin to slip and become crooked. A dental implant can prevent this. It can also stop bone loss and your jaw from shrinking.
Dental implants can be extremely expensive and they are not usually covered by dental insurance.
Having a dental implant is classed as surgery. Such surgery is not risk free and can result in bruising, swelling and tenderness.
The procedure of having a dental implant takes far longer than having a bridge or denture. There is preparation time and after care to be considered, which involve quite a few visits to the dentist.
Replacement of crown
Unlike a denture or bridge, which should last as long as they are cared for, the crown of a dental implant needs to be replaced every ten to fifteen years.
Dental implant failure
Although most dental implants are successful, there is a risk of failure. If fixtures are fitted incorrectly, the result can be an infection. When placed into thin bone dental implants can become loose. Nerve impairment is a possibility. This can lead to pain, tingling and numbness.
Thomas D Taylor, DSS, MSD and William R Laney, DMD, MS suggest that you shouldn’t have a dental implant if you suffer from a crippling disease, are pregnant, have a serious mental health condition or don’t feel you’ll have sufficient motivation to attend required treatment and follow up sessions in full.
Looking at the pros and cons in depth can help give you a good idea about whether you are a suitable candidate for a dental implant. Your dentist should also be able to help you make the right decision.