There is some archeological evidence that dental implants may have been used in prehistoric times, and we know definitively that implants have been in use since at least 600 AD. Modern dental implants date to the 1970s, but they have only been widely used since the 1990s. As technology improves, prices fall, and insurance companies increasingly cover them. Dental implants have become the gold standard for replacing missing teeth, yet many people are still misinformed about them. Here is the truth behind 4 myths about dental implants.
1. Dental Implants Are Expensive
In the short term, dental implants do cost more than dentures. However, they are only slightly more expensive than dental bridges, which sacrifice healthy tooth structure. If you are missing most or all of your teeth, just a few dental implants can anchor a full fixed arch of replacement teeth. Not only is this the most comfortable and aesthetic solution, but it preserves your future oral health by minimizing bone degradation and loss.
In the long run, dental implants are far less expensive than bridges or dentures. Bridges tend to fail within 10 to 15 years, and dentures must be relined every year or so. Dental implants can easily last a lifetime with proper care. If you amortize the costs over your expected lifespan, you can determine how much money you can save with dental implants.
Be careful not to shop solely on price. When choosing a dental implant surgeon, you must consider the surgeon’s skill and experience as well as the price of the implants themselves. The most expensive surgeon is not necessarily the best, but be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.
2. Dental Implant Surgery Hurts
Any oral surgery can cause some pain and discomfort, but many patients claim that implant placement is less uncomfortable than tooth extraction. A skilled, caring dentist using modern numbing techniques and surgical procedures can ensure that any discomfort is minimized. If desired, sedation dentistry can help keep you relaxed and pain-free.
You may be prescribed painkillers for a few days, depending on your health history and your individual needs. Take your pills as prescribed to stay ahead of the pain. Most people can go back to work as normal within two or three days.
3. Dental Implants Are Prone to Failure
Failure rates for dental implants are actually quite low. Made of biocompatible titanium, dental implants are virtually impossible for the body to reject. A very small percentage do fail to osseointegrate with the jawbone, but this is very rare. Across the board success rates are around 95 percent, while a skilled implant dentist with patients who carefully follow instructions can reach a success rate of 98 percent.
4. Patients Must Be in Perfect Health
You must have sufficient healthy bone to support dental implants, but the vast majority of people with severe jawbone loss can benefit from bone grafting. Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or bleeding disorders can complicate any oral surgery, but if they are well-controlled, they are not generally impediments to dental implant placement. Of course, active oral health issues such as gum disease must be treated before dental implant surgery begins.
Manhattan periodontist Dr. Stuart J. Froum is recognized as a leading authority on gum health, periodontal disease diagnosis and treatment, and dental implants. Our office is proud to provide the most advanced cosmetic, periodontal, implant, and laser treatments currently available in dentistry. If you are ready to get started with a compassionate and extremely skilled periodontist, we invite you to call 212-586-4209 today to schedule your first appointment.