A: Dental implants are extremely successful. You know there’s a tiny margin of variation from patient to patient. But, overall, dental implants are successful 98-99% of the time, which is amazing. It’s probably the highest success rate of anything we do in dentistry. It’s been proven for many decades in a lot of scientific papers and it’s consistent.
So, the success rate of dental implants really— depending obviously on the characteristics of the patient, their health, and how well they take care of them—it’s going to be 98-99% in most cases.
In those very few cases where an implant doesn’t work, normally there is a way to fix it. So, dental implant dentistry is probably one of the most predictable procedures we have in dentistry in general.
Our smile is probably the most critical physical feature we have. It can convey confidence, joy, disappointment, and a plethora of other emotions. A healthy smile is also important to our self-image and the confidence we feel.
So, given the impact a healthy smile can have in our life, it’s no surprise that there are many options to replace missing teeth. When you are missing more than a couple of teeth, bridges are often a suggested solution. However, what about when you are missing several teeth or an entire arch?
Dentures are another commonly suggested option from many dentists in San Antonio. But dentures and bridges lack a key feature that your smile needs to be healthy:
BRIDGES AND DENTURES DON’T PRESERVE YOUR JAWBONE
Bridges and dentures on paper sound like a valid choice to replace missing teeth. They give you the appearance of a healthy smile and cost less than dental implants—or do they? When comparing dentures and bridges to dental implants you have to look at the bigger picture.
Does it cost more for dental implants in San Antonio? Well, that’s a subjective question. If we are comparing the upfront costs of dental implants to dentures for example, then yes—it does cost more.
However, that is not the whole picture, as we’ve stated. You might be surprised to find out that dentures often end up costing just as much as dental implants—in the long term. Don’t believe it? Read on.
You see, dentures are not a permanent solution, you have to remove them at night and soak them, etc. That is a minor inconvenience, we’ll admit that. But, that’s not why we steer clear of dentures if implants are possible.
When you lose your teeth your jawbone begins to deteriorate because there is no tooth root to stimulate it. Your teeth exert an enormous amount of pressure on the jawbone with biting and chewing. The jawbone is in a constant flux of “remodeling” just like the rest of your skeletal system. Bones remodel themselves at a rate of about 10% per year in adults.
When you don’t have roots to initiate the jawbone to remodel itself, it just constantly stays in a state of resorption. Resorption is when your body breaks down old bone matter and distributes it back into the body. Normally, it is replaced by newer, regenerated bone mass— not in a jawbone without any teeth though.
What Happens Next?
Since there is no new bone material created in the jawbone, it erodes—and at a pretty rapid rate. This causes the facial features to become sunken in, ultimately changing your appearance, drastically in most cases.
Since dentures merely sit on top of the gums, they do nothing to help the jawbone regenerate. So, over time your dentures that fit before stop fitting, and you have to get another set. This cycle repeats itself indefinitely.
Given that decent dentures cost about $4-$6 thousand and last on average about 5-7 years…you see where this is going? Let’s say a patient is 30, has a bad car accident, and loses all her teeth. Rather than getting dental implants, she opts for the seemingly less expensive dentures.
She spends, let’s say $5,000 and at age 36, her face has sunken in and jawbone receded so the dentures keep slipping. She spends another $5,000 to get new dentures molded to fit the current dimensions of her jawbone.
Fast forward to age 56, assuming the cycle continues, this woman has now spent over $20,000 on dentures in the last 20 years. If that were the only issue, that honestly wouldn’t be the worst-case scenario. However, that’s not the only problem.
She’s also dealing with depression as she looks like a different person, he facial features have caved in. She is lacking proper nutrition because dentures limit what you can eat, and you miss out on a lot of nutrients. This malnutrition has led to other health issues and well, you get the idea.
Dental Implants Are About Your Health First
This is why dental implants are actually quite affordable—because they keep your life together. Think about it. Implants maintain jaw integrity, which allows you to live life as usual, eat what you want, the jawbone is strong, and life is great.
Too often people get apprehensive about dental implants because they fear they may fail. They fear they will hurt or feel foreign in their mouth. Well, nothing feels more foreign than a prosthesis stuck to your gums with gooey adhesive. All that, and the dentures aren’t doing much for your long-term health—nothing in fact.
Patients that opt for dental implants in San Antonio are choosing to live again. Dentures lessen the quality of life and don’t bring much to the table. Where dentures introduce new restrictions in all facets of your life, implants make anything possible.
Want to speak in public without fear? Not with dentures. Want to eat things like corn on the cob, fresh carrots, ribs? That’s another no-go with dentures. Dental implants allow you to speak in public confidently, no speech impediment, no worry of slippage, just normalcy. Eat what you like with dental implants—just be sure to brush and floss as you normally would.
We could continue to go on and on about dental implants and why dentures just aren’t the answer. However, we’re pretty sure that after reading this you’re likely more apprehensive about dentures now more than dental implants. Honestly, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish and we’re not hiding that fact.
While we’re not saying don’t get dentures if you want to, we are always going to steer patients towards the optimal solution for their health. Our position is simple— dentures should only be a last resort if you medically cannot get dental implants. That could be due to losing too much bone mass or other reasons—however, most people are good candidates for dental implants.
What About Dental Implants For A Single Tooth?
Dental implants aren’t only for patients who’ve lost an entire arch, we just highlight that procedure to show the impact implants can make. Patients that need just a single tooth implant can get benefit from implant technology too. In fact, single-tooth implants have been validated by scientific reports as the highest success rate of any implant procedure.
Although single-tooth replacement is a comparatively new treatment option they help prevent the loss of neighboring teeth. When you lose a single tooth, the jawbone still deteriorates— that socket caves in and that can affect adjacent teeth.
Single-tooth dental implants are the optimal solution for a single missing tooth as much as full arch dental implants.
Don’t Let Missing Teeth Slow You Down
Whether you’ve just recently lost one or more teeth or have been living for a while without them—START LIVING AGAIN! Missing teeth don’t have to slow you down. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Monarres and let’s get you smiling again!