Tooth loss comes with a lot of inconvenience. Not only does eating and speaking become more difficult or flat out impossible, but the health of our teeth is of particular interest from an aesthetic point of view as well.
Replacing missing teeth
Luckily, we can now choose from a number of ways to replace our teeth. Based on how many teeth you are missing, and what condition the rest of your teeth are in, it should be pretty easy to find the perfect fit for that tooth gap: either a crown or bridge, a removable dental prosthetic, or fixed dental prosthesis will be the answer.
Replacing teeth with dental implants means putting a dental crown atop an artificial tooth root. This method can be done regardless of how many teeth you have or any other factor. If your bones are healthy and dense enough, are of the right age and do not have any systemic diseases or infections, then you are eligible for dental implants regardless of any other factor. Dental implants cost around 500 GBP per implant, all things considered, while a dental crown without a dental implant underneath it costs only around a hundred or two.
Removable tooth replacements are usually only used when all or most of an entire row of teeth is missing already, and the teeth cannot handle a dental bridge, either because there aren’t enough of them, or because they are not strong enough to handle the occlussal forces implied by the use of a dental bridge. Dentures are much, much cheaper than dental implants, but dentures can be stabilised with dental implants, although this is a quite costly procedure. But are there any negative health effects or any other factors that may make dental implants more desirable?
Why are dental implants better?
Fixed dental bridges are not a good option for many patients, because it implies the loss of tooth material from an otherwise healthy tooth. Many patients also find it uncomfortable, and the adhesion is also a problem, as it lets go frequently. Food detritus getting stuck in between the units of the dental bridge, or worse yet, underneath it is also a frequent problem, and can be the cause of periodontitis, bad breath and tooth decay. Dental bridges are also less aesthetically pleasing than dental implants.
Dental implants can be done with absolutely no teeth left in the mouth, as the inserted dental implant will serve as the anchor, and no teeth need to be shaped or otherwise messed with.
A dental implant is more comfortable and feels more natural than fixed or removable dental bridges, is much more hygienic as it is easier to clean, and if cared for properly, will last a lifetime.
The process of getting a dental implant
Getting a dental implant implies an invasive oral surgery, in which the dental implant, meant to replace the now gone tooth root gets put into the jawbone. After the surgery, you will still have a tooth gap, as the entire process of replacing a tooth with a dental implant has just begun. The tiny titanium screw that is the dental implant now needs 6-8 weeks of healing time to stabilise, and to complete a complex process known as osseointegration, during which the cells of the bone tissue will grow in, around and through the dental implant, providing a stable tooth root for the dental crown.
Are dental implants worth it?
Dental implants are not cheap. A single dental implant can cost up to 500 GBP, and certain complications can raise the price even further. Although the price comes as a real shock to many, we are seeing more and more dental implants in use- that is because they are well worth the money you spend on them. Dental implants, and the process of getting them is being fine-tuned constantly, and is almost totally risk free, being a routine oral surgical procedure with a 98% success rate. The most important thing is for the dentist to determine that you are indeed eligible for dental implants. Once that is done, the only thing you as a patient need to do is keep your aftercare instructions, and take them very seriously, and you should have no problems at all.
The condition of your teeth has an affect on your overall health. Speech, eating, smiling- these integral parts of our lives will become a challenge with missing teeth, and this can impact you very negatively. Although a bit pricey, with properly maintained oral hygiene, dental implants last a lifetime.