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Are Dental Implants a Good Choice For Me?

Dentist Tim Nguyen, DMD FAGD weighs in on the benefits and longevity of dental implants.

What are dental implants? A dental implant is a replacement tooth root made of a titanium post that is surgically placed into the jaw. If you’ve lost a tooth or your existing tooth is not able to be saved, a dental implant provides a permanent solution for holding a crown in place.

Why would I need a dental implant? If you lose a tooth as a result of an accident, tooth decay, root canal failure, or gum disease, Dr. Nguyen may recommend a dental implant to support a crown. Dental implants may also serve as secure anchors for a bridge or dentures.

How much do dental implants cost? The cost of implants has continued to decrease in both cost and time while most other dental procedures have increased. Some of these savings are a result of being able to perform immediate implant placement following an extraction, and also from the evolution of digital CAD/CAM dentistry. Especially in the case of hybrid bridges, all the teeth are extracted, implants placed, and Hybrid Bridge delivered at the same appointment.

What is the success rate of implants, and how long will they last? Implants in general have a very high success rate and if well maintained can last a lifetime.

Why should I get a dental implant rather than just a bridge? First, it keeps a one-tooth problem…a one-tooth problem. If a bridge is selected to replace missing teeth, then the adjacent teeth have to be prepared (shaved down) to support a bridge. The process then involves three teeth, rather than just the one. The dental implant is much stronger and usually does not need any future treatment, whereas a bridge frequently needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.

What types of dental implants are available?

  • Single tooth replacement. Most often the implant is placed the same day the tooth is extracted, and a temporary tooth is provided at the same time. In a few months, the bone will have integrated into the implant, a new all-ceramic crown will be fabricated, and the implant will look and function just like a natural tooth.
  • Multiple tooth replacement. Dental implants can also replace multiple missing teeth, even replacing old and failing bridges.
  • Implant supported denture. An existing or new full denture can be made much more stable when as few as two implants are placed and the denture “snaps” onto it.
  • Hybrid bridges for fixed, full arch replacement. This is one of the newest, most exciting, and fastest-growing segments of dental implants as an alternative to full dentures.