Top 5 Dental Implant Myths
Dental implants substitute for the natural roots of teeth, are surgically placed within the bone and most often used to support dental prostheses such as crowns, bridges and dentures. If you are considering dental implants, or if your dentist has suggested them, you likely have questions. One look online and you’ll find there is a lot of information available about dental implants, including many misconceptions. We set the record straight on the five top dental implant myths here with the help of Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD, of Eastlake and Cleveland Lakes, Ohio.
Dental Implant Myth: Getting implants is extremely painful.
Truth: “Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure,” says Dr. Gross. “Local anesthesia is used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.” He says, generally, any mild discomfort immediately after the procedure can be easily treated with an over-the-counter pain medication.
Dental Implant Myth: Implants may not stay put or will eventually need to be replaced.
Truth: Not true, says Gross. “Dental implants are titanium replacements of tooth roots, and they provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) crowns and bridges, or to secure removable dentures,” he says. “They have a very good success rate. Since they are implanted into the bone and fuse with it, they have up to a 99 percent success rate, and if properly taken care of, they can last a lifetime.”
Two more positives about implants: “One of the most important aspects of dental implants is that they don’t require the removal or alteration of any adjacent teeth and they allow easier flossing and oral care.”
Proper care for dental implants, according to Gross, is the same as caring or your natural teeth. “You need to brush twice daily and floss once daily, and see your dentist for regular checkups.”
Dental Implant Myth: Implants look or feel fake.
Truth: “Of all the tooth replacement options,” assures Gross, “dental implants are the most like real teeth. They provide improved appearance and function. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.”
More benefits of dental implants, says Gross: “[Patients experience] improved speech because there is no slipping as you can have with dentures. They are also the most comfortable tooth replacement option.”
Dental Implant Myth: Dental implants are too expensive.
Truth: Explains Gross, “The cost of dental implants is determined by the amount of implants needed, the condition of the bone and the general oral health of the patient.”
“While the upfront cost may be higher than a bridge,” he clarifies, “implants are affordable for most everyone. The long term cost may be even less than a bridge or other treatment as they are permanent and will generally never need to be replaced where a bridge can be broken, wear out or just not fit anymore due to bone shrinkage or other issues.” Mini dental implants often cost less than traditional implants. Additionally, most dentists offer payment plans for dental implants.
Dental Implant Myth: The process of getting dental implants takes too long.
Truth: The amount of time involved in getting dental implants is dependent on a number of factors, says Gross, including the patient’s individual circumstances, how many teeth are involved, the patient’s health and which teeth need to be replaced.
“But if the bone is good, many implants can now be placed in one day or in just one or two visits. It really depends upon the type of dental implant treatment provided,” the doctor says.
“In some cases, patients can have fixed teeth on the day of implant placement. In the traditional approach, the procedure is performed in two stages, which include a surgical phase to place the implant in the jaw and allowing it to heal and fuse for three to six months.”
Overall, when it comes to dental implantation, having an experienced dentist is key. Gross says, “Finding a great dentist for implants is the same process as finding a great dentist for (general) dental care. The dentist-patient relationship is very important, and there needs to be a strong trust factor. You must feel comfortable with the dentist who is doing the implants.”
Gross suggests asking how long the dentist has been in practice and how long she has been doing implant procedures. “Ask how many implant procedures they have done,” he says. “A good place to start is to ask your family and friends for referrals.”