What are dental implants?
Dental implants is a fixed surgical component which is housed in the jaw bone (like the foundations of a house) that can be used to support many different things such as a crown, bridge or even dentures.
Many people refer the term “dental implants” as part of the implant + abutment + crown combo as seen in the above picture. Because this term is more common to the general public we will be talking more about this type of implant in this page.
How do you place the implants?
To place an implant you will need to go through at least 4-5 appointments and broken down into two main stages:
- Stage one is when we place the implants into your bone. We then let your bone integrate with the implant (ossointegration) which can take at least 2-3 months.
- Stage two is when we make the crown/denture/bridge over your implant
Think of stage one as laying out the foundations of your house and stage two as building your actual house. Both stages take a lot of planning and time as is building a house.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of implants?
Here is a table summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of implants and alternatives for tooth replacement:
|Treatment option||Advantages (+)||Disadvantages (-)|
|Dental implants||+ Fixed to your existing bone|
+ The closest thing to having your original tooth
+ Long term lifespan
+ High success rate
+ Prevents and/or reduces bone resorption
|- Cost |
- Involvement of multiple dentists and dental specialists
|Maryland/Resin bonded bridge||+ Relative lower cost compared to dental implants|
+ Medium term
+ Fixed to the adjacent tooth after conservative preparation
|- Limited to the upper front tooth only|
- Will not prevent bone resorption
- There will be a chance of debonding over time (i.e. the bridge unit comes off) but on the plus side it can be rebonded easily
* We personally view this as an outdated method ever since dental implants have been introduced
|+ Fixed to the adjacent teeth||- The need to prepare and drill the adjacent teeth (big disadvantage if the tooth had never had a filling)|
- Not suitable if you have multiple large gaps to fill
- Relatively complex procedure
- Will not prevent bone resorption (can result from the tooth being replaced under the bridge to have large gaps and food trap).
|Dentures||+ Relatively quick to make|
+ Conservative preparation of the existing tooth in order to make the denture stay in.
+ Good, economical option to fill in multiple gaps in your teeth
|- Will not prevent bone resorption|
- Because of this, the denture will need to be serviced at least once every 6 months in order to allow the base of the denture to match the change in the bone height.
- Not fixed in the mouth
- Needs to be removed every night
- Good oral hygiene is a must, otherwise the denture can cause the other tooth that is holding it to loosen and exacerbate gum diseases.
- Potential poor tolerance due to people whom have oversensitive gag-reflexes
- May reduce your taste sensations
- May reduce your ability to bite on foods compared to having natural teeth.
|Do nothing (i.e. not replacing the tooth)||+ Viable choice due to the costs of dental treatment||- The alveolar bone where the tooth has been taken will slowly resorb over time once the tooth is lost.|
- Because of the above problem, it can make future replacement of your tooth more complex (adding to the cost of treatment).
- Potential aesthetic concern.
- Potential for drifting, rotation and over-eruption of adjacent teeth into the gap over time
- Possible gum problems in the future due to the above scenario
So what’s the best for me?
Each person has its own unique needs so it is difficult to tell. The best way to know what you need is to contact us and I will sit down with you to go through the best option with you in person.