Many of our patients are concerned about the cost of dental implants. Please don’t let that prevent you from considering this natural-looking, comfortable and permanent solution to damaged, diseased or missing teeth.
If you have a healthy strong jawbone and healthy gums, you are likely a great candidate for a dental implant.
More and more people are turning to dental implants for replacing missing teeth. The reason is that they are comfortable, long-lasting, and when they are done right they are very esthetic. It’s like having your own tooth back.
During the procedure, the dentist inserts a metal anchor into the jawbone. The two fuse together to form a permanent bond. Later, an artificial tooth, or crown, is attached, leaving your smile looking 100% natural.
Dental Implants for Multiple Missing Teeth
The more teeth you are missing, the more advantageous it may be to consider dental implants.
One of the reasons for that is a biological problem that occurs after a tooth is extracted. Your body, sensing the loss, now senses that the bone that was holding the tooth in your jaw is no longer necessary. When there are multiple missing teeth, you end up with large-scale bone atrophy and a condition called facial collapse.
The jawbone shrinks, causing fold lines in the face and a shortening of the lower face. It creates the look that we associate with old age—a sunken face and a short nose-to-chin distance.
(Diagram courtesy of Dental Implant Prosthetics, by Dr. Carl Misch. This is the leading dental implant textbook)
But having the face look old is a minor problem compared with the difficulty in retaining a denture. When the bone resorbs, there is nothing left to rest a denture on. Sometimes the small amount of bony ridge remaining is sharp, making things more uncomfortable.
Dental implants prevent this bone resorption and facial collapse. A denture can be retained with as few as two dental implants. Six or more, however, will produce a more stable result.
If you are already suffering from facial collapse and are unable to wear a denture, we can still help you. Bone grafting can restore your jawbone. We even have a periodontal surgeon in our office who does the surgical aspects of this procedure!
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
In the early 1980s, if you were missing a tooth and wanted a non-removable replacement, you would need to get a dental bridge. You would have the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth drilled down for a crown preparation and had crowns placed on them, with a false tooth suspended between the two crowns.
That technique is still common today, even though it is rapidly falling by the wayside due to the success of dental implants introduced in the early 1980s. With dental implants, we avoid having to drill down the adjacent teeth, which may be intact and healthy, just to anchor a replacement tooth.
A dental implant is a much less aggressive treatment. We believe strongly in preserving healthy tooth structure as much as possible. A dental bridge is the antithesis of that goal. Sometimes, when the adjacent teeth are prepared for crowns, they are so traumatized that they also need root canal treatments. As a minimum, they need careful watching for recurrent decay or further problems. And if there is any additional problem with any of the three teeth involved, the entire bridge needs to be re-done.
A dental implant is much easier to clean. The teeth in a bridge are all connected, which makes it impossible to snap floss between them. You can use a floss threader, but that is too much trouble for many people. With a dental implant, you brush and floss normally.
The cost for each treatment option is about the same.