Most people don’t realize and know that dental implants are usually the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that an oral surgeon, or dentist can place into the gum that can last much longer than anything else while limiting bone loss that happens when teeth are removed and dentures are used. Statistics show that around 70% of adults over the age of 30 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. By the time most people are in their 70’s close to 25% of the population have all their teeth removed due to decay or other issues.
Only a few years ago most of these patients would have no alternative but to get a bridge or removable denture to restore their ability to speak, eat, and keep their same facial structure and smile. Fixed bridges and dentures, however, are not always the perfect solution and often bring with them a number of problems. Removable dentures usually always slip can often cause embarrassing clicking sounds while speaking or eating. Of even greater concern, fixed bridges often affect adjacent healthy teeth, and removable dentures may lead to bone loss in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing. Recurrent decay, periodontal (gum) disease and other factors often doom fixed bridgework to early failure. For these reasons, most fixed bridges and removable dentures usually have to be replaced every 7-10 years.
Today’s other option for patients who have missing permanent teeth is the dental implant. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your dentist or oral surgeon surgically places in the jawbone. Most implants are composed of titanium which “fuses” with the jawbone through a process called “osseointegration,” dental implants never slip or make embarrassing noises that advertise the fact that you have “false teeth,” and never decay like teeth anchoring fixed bridges. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, bone loss is generally not a problem, unlike with dentures.
Dental implants have been being placed for over 20 years, and today the vast majority of dental implants first placed by dentists and oral surgeons in the United States continue to still function like new. More importantly, the recipients of those early dental implants are still satisfied they made the right choice. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime unlike removable and dentures.