Losing a tooth due to injury or disease takes away more than just your confident smile; it can cause all sorts of trouble for your daily life. Along with numerous other detrimental effects, clear speech becomes harder, chewing may get uncomfortable and your intact teeth and other facial structures may shift in ways that reduce your aesthetic appeal. Solving such issues requires restorative dentistry, in which dental implants can be used as an effective solution, promising to restore not only the aesthetics but also the functionality of your teeth.

However, as with any medical procedure, dental implants carry a mix of advantages and disadvantages. To ensure you’re making well informed decisions about your oral health, you need to get familiar with why dental implants might be the right fit for you, while carefully weighing the factors that might prompt a second thought.

Why you should consider getting dental implants

1. Natural look and feel

Tooth loss can be emotionally and physically distressing. Not too long ago in the past, tooth replacement options were significantly less than ideal. Dentures were uncomfortable, and bridges required altering adjacent teeth. However, with advances in dentistry, implants have become a popular solution because these days they not only look like natural teeth but also feel remarkably similar. Each implant is made to match the colour, size and shape of existing teeth, ensuring a beautiful, confident smile.

2. Longevity

The quality of your tooth restoration is paramount to its reliability, and dental implants stand out as a good long-term investment. Made from titanium, a strong and durable material, dental implants can last for an average of 10–15 years. With proper care and maintenance, they have the potential to last a lifetime, depending on factors such as a patient’s general health and the condition of their bones and gums. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement every 3–5 years, dental implants offer lasting stability and support.

3. Improved chewing function

The primary function of teeth is to bite and chew food effectively. Dental implants, by replacing the entire tooth—root and all—restore this crucial balance. Traditional tooth replacement options can lead to deterioration in the bone supporting the teeth, causing the remaining teeth to shift. Dental implants, however, provide stability, making chewing much easier and enhancing overall oral function.

4. Prevention of bone loss

One of the distinctive advantages of dental implants is their ability to prevent bone loss in the jaw. Unlike bridges or dentures that rest on the gums, dental implants fuse with the jawbone, stimulating growth and reducing the risk of deterioration. This not only preserves facial structure but also prevents the appearance of premature ageing due to bone loss.

5. Easy maintenance

Dental implants don’t demand any extraordinary care. Consistent brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups, are sufficient for their maintenance. They don’t require special cleaning solutions or adhesives, making them a hassle-free option for those seeking a convenient tooth replacement solution.

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Why you might not consider dental implants

1. Cost

Undeniably, the cost of dental implants can be a significant barrier for many individuals. With the initial procedure cost starting from $5,000 per implant and ranging higher for full-mouth dental implants, the financial investment required can be substantial.

It’s crucial to carefully consider your budget and explore available options, such as potential insurance coverage or financing plans, before committing to the procedure. In general, Medicare does not extend coverage to dental implant surgery. Similarly, private health insurance extras usually do not cover dental implants. To secure coverage for implants, you’ll likely require a high level of extras cover.

Some plans may cover a percentage or a specific amount of the cost, while others may not include the dental implant procedure in their coverage at all. The extent of coverage for dental implants can vary based on several factors, so it’s crucial to consult your plan to understand what’s included.

If you’re considering implant surgery, it’s advisable to have a conversation with both your dentist and insurance provider to get a reliable estimate of the potential cost and available coverage options.

2. Lifestyle and habits

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene and embracing a healthy lifestyle are crucial for the success of dental implants. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, neglecting oral hygiene, playing contact sports unprotected and taking certain medications that suppress the immune system may wreak havoc on your oral health. This, in turn, can compromise the effectiveness of dental implants. Individuals with these risk factors may need to address them before considering dental implant surgery.

3. Oral health requirements

Good oral health is a prerequisite for successful dental implants. Conditions such as gum disease or insufficient jawbone density may disqualify individuals from being suitable candidates. For this reason, every individual should pay close attention to their oral health long before any crisis arises. Preventative action, such as regular checkups and a great oral hygiene routine, lays the foundation for a successful and lasting dental implant solution in the future. If you have reached the point of needing restorative dentistry, your dentist will advise you on the best path available to first resolve underlying oral health issues in order to ensure the best possible outcome.

4. Time and multiple appointments

Getting dental implants involves a multi-step process, requiring multiple appointments and a waiting period for the implant to fuse with the jawbone. The entire procedure, from the initial consultation to the final placement of the dental crown, may take several months. To achieve a successful and lasting result, individuals considering dental implants should be prepared to make this significant time commitment.

5. Surgery risks

Dental implant surgery, like any surgical procedure, comes with inherent risks. While complications such as infection, nerve damage and potential sinus problems are rare, they should be acknowledged by the patient before they elect to proceed. It is hard to overstate the lifelong value of proactively practising good oral hygiene and getting regular dental check-ups, especially as it relates to minimising the risk of complications in oral surgery.

Making informed choices for your oral health

Dental implants are a remarkable solution for restoring not only your smile but also the functionality and health of your teeth. While the associated risks need attention, not least so you understand how to reduce these, the potential benefits are highly compelling. The key to informed decision-making lies in thoroughly understanding your needs and consulting with a qualified dental professional.

Whether you’re leaning towards the transformative world of dental implants or contemplating alternative options, we hope this guide provides you with the right knowledge needed to make the best choice for your oral health journey.

woman consulting to dentist