Why should I consider an implant instead of a bridge to replace a missing tooth?
Although a bridge may be less expensive and is generally a quicker procedure than performing an implant, in many situations an implant supported tooth is considered to be the ideal treatment. Benefits include:
- An implant is the closest treatment alternative to a natural tooth
- Teeth adjacent to a missing tooth remain untouched and are not needed to anchor the implant (this is ideal when adjacent teeth have small fillings)
- The implant helps to preserve the bone and gum structure
- It is easier to clean around a single implant compared to a bridge
- Bridges sometimes cause negative side-effects on the teeth used to support a bridge: recurrent cavities, root canal problems, bridge failure
How successful are dental implants?
There are many factors that can affect the success of implants.
- Health: patients with health problems like poorly managed diabetes or people who are heavy smokers tend to have more healing problems that can cause adverse outcomes
- Patient selection is important as is proper diagnosis and treatment planning
- Good surgical technique and proper restoration are essential
- Under favorable conditions, success rates vary form 90% to 98% based on most published academic studies
Is age an important factor in implant treatment?
Increasing age is not considered a deterrent to implant treatment. Overall health is more important than age. As long as a person is in good health and perceives the treatment as beneficial to his function and looks, implants are good options at almost any age.
How many implants do I need?
This question is difficult to answer without assessing each individual case. It is ideal to consider the replacement of each tooth with an implant, but this may not be necessary depending on the proposed method of restoration. Each case is independently reviewed, and optimal numbers of implants and locations will be discussed before any procedures take place.
Is it painful to have implants placed?
With adequate local anesthetic, there should be no pain during surgery although you will feel minor sensations like touch and pressure. For the average patient, there is little to no post-surgical pain, and typically patients are able to manage any post-surgical pain with over-the-counter drugs. Of course there are some exceptions, but we will do everything we can to make you comfortable.
Can I afford implants and will my insurance pay for this treatment?
Implant based treatment plans can be costly. Costs vary significantly with the complexity of the treatment, the number of implants, and the type of prosthesis used. Each case needs to be assessed independently. Insurance may offset some of the fees, but compensation can be poor with some plans. It is necessary to bear in mind that insurance plans rarely pay for the best treatment possible; they are designed to defray only certain costs associated with restoration.