For the majority of individuals however, the benefits of choosing to have the implants inserted seem to outweigh the risks.
Having dental implants inserted is a minor dental surgical procedure. The thought of this does put a lot of people off choosing dental implants to replace their missing teeth. It is important to look at the long term picture and even remember the phrase of ‘no pain, no gain’ (although the pain can be reduced through the use of local anaesthesia and painkillers). Major benefits include an improved appearance, the ability to eat a wide range of food, no loss of jawbone and no movement of existing teeth, no damage caused to other teeth, an improved bite and no slipping of dentures (if you wear them).
Your appearance will improve with the implantation of dental implants as not only will they fill the gaps of your missing teeth, but they also prevent your jawbone shrinking. Jawbone shrinkage occurs because there is no longer a tooth root for the bone to fuse on. A dental implant has a screw type titanium root placed into your jaw which fuses with your jawbone, creating a permanent and secure attachment. Having a secure attachment means that you are able to eat whatever type of food you desire, unlike individuals with dentures who need to cut up or avoid certain foods all together. Replacing your dentures with dental implants renders your teeth as near as possible in feel, look and bite to normal teeth. Finally by having dental implants inserted, your existing teeth also benefit from the procedure. This is because they are not filed down to fit like other type of dental prosthesis used to hide your missing tooth or teeth.
With benefits also come risks. Having dental implants inserted does pose some mostly minor risks. The most common risk is that the implant will fail, requiring another implant to be done. While this may prove costly and time consuming, it does not pose long term effects on the patient. To reduce the risk of failure it is beneficial to not smoke or drink, as well as to maintain a good general state of health. An infection after the procedure is another risk which some dentists try to avoid by prescribing antibiotics and encouraging excellent oral health habits. Finally there is the risk of blood vessel and nerve damage, causing permanent numbing or tingling in the chin, lips, gums or teeth. Though this is very uncommon, the risk can be reduced by having an excellent pre-implantation evaluation by your dental implant specialist. This is done through using such tools as the use of CT scans and x-rays, as well as you choosing a qualified and registered dental practitioner to undertake the implants.
As with any dental or medical procedure, implants do pose benefits and risks for the patient. Through the making of an informed decision about the benefits and risks of having implants, inserted you are highly likely to understand that while there are risks, the benefits for implants do outweigh those risks.