Rewards vs Risks

What are the rewards vs risks when considering replacement of missing teeth or restoration of damaged teeth? Dental implant treatment and removable dentures are two options for tooth replacement.

Rewards Vs Risks: Reduce Your Risks by Consulting With a Prosthodontist

You should always begin with a prosthodontist. To achieve maximum dental function, superior aesthetics and total comfort, the engineering expertise of a trained and board certified prosthodontist is key to long term satisfaction.

Patients who reap the greatest reward from dental implant treatment are those currently wearing full upper and/or lower dentures and those about to approach the edentulous state (having no natural teeth) due to trauma, decay, infection or bone deterioration.

It is always best to protect and preserve healthy natural teeth. But some patients have conditions that reach the stage of no repair.  That means money invested in any form of dental “patching” will be short-lived and could actually make the problem even worse. The broad spectrum advice of a prosthodontist is invaluable in this scenario.

The smile is meant to be locked in place. Even the best fitting removable dentures sacrifice quality of life for the patient.  They are as unnatural to the human psyche as a prosthetic arm or a prosthetic leg.  Removing a part of the body at night defies human instinct.

Besides psychological contraindications, dentures inhibit many comforts of life. Because they are prone to mobility, they have their own distinctive “snap, crackle, pop” sound bite.  Food is easily caught beneath them causing painful abrasions and some foods become outlawed for life due to mechanical restrictions caused by loose arches of amorphous acrylic posing as teeth.

Dentures accelerate aging.  Dental Implants preserve youth.

The bone holding the dentures in place begins to shrink once there is an absence of root structure.  The dentures then loosen and require relining or rebuilding, while the supporting cheek tissue often collapses prematurely, causing wrinkles on the face.

Natural teeth that are loose or decayed and gum tissue that is infected, or inflamed usually signify a final choice between dentures or dental implants. This is where a prosthodontist can help.

Dental implants are always the preferred choice, as they recreate a healthy new root system for teeth effectively bonding to human bone.  Prosthetic teeth that remain fixed in the mouth are then attached to the implants, creating a decay free environment with function, comfort, and esthetics far superior to removable dentures.

A board certified prosthodontist supported by a sophisticated, high tech dental laboratory can create prosthetic smiles that almost perfectly mimic natural teeth.

In cases where the mouth is healthy except for a single tooth or a few adjacent teeth, dental implants placed by an experienced prosthodontist may still be the best choice.  Because of their longevity and stability and because they stand free of other healthy teeth in the mouth, no other teeth are compromised in the treatment process.

Dental Implants versus Crowns or Bridges

Single crowns, which are built upon natural roots, remain subject to the health of that root, leaving open the possibility of further decay, the need for a root canal and the replacement of the crown.  Dental implants do not decay.  A single tooth built on a dental implant has a long healthy life.  Similarly, bridges are dependent on anchorage to natural teeth and only last as long as the anchor teeth remain healthy.

Everyday Rewards With Dental Implants

  • Enjoying favorites foods with no repercussions
  • No mobility inside the mouth—no more glue or dental adhesive!
  • No restrictions to the palate.  Clumsy plastic is gone.
  • Wide smiles. Hearty Laughs.  Full confidence.
  • Enjoy young teeth at any age.

Almost everyone can be a candidate for dental implant care.

Dental implant treatment is possible for almost any patient and it comes with very few known risks. Published success rates are very high.

In addition to the skill of the prosthodontist, the engaged compliance of the patient is critical to the successful outcome of dental implant treatment.

Patients need to understand that dental implant treatment is a surgical procedure associated with all normal surgical risks and that it is not purely cosmetic.  While the new smile is the closest thing available to natural teeth, there are some compromises.

Your prosthodontist will warn you: Smoking is the greatest enemy to the success of dental implant treatment. The fusion of bone to the titanium implant and the healing process can only take place in an oral environment that is not exposed to smoke. Smoking also has detrimental systemic effects on circulation and bone metabolism.

Statistics indicate that smoking inhibits the integration of the titanium implants with natural bone but it also affects the cleanliness of the mouth, creating an environment prone to infection.  Small areas of space between prosthetic teeth and gum tissue require patients to develop strong dental hygiene habits.  Routine visits to the hygienist in the prosthodontist’s office safeguard the health of dental implants.

Avoiding Chips and Breaks

Because dental implants do not have the sensitivity that is found in natural roots, patients with prosthetic smiles sometimes misjudge the pressure they exert when biting into hard foods.  It is common to break or chip a prosthetic tooth.  It is also normally a quick and easy “fix” by your prosthodontist and the dental laboratory.  Adjusting to one’s prosthetic bite power can eliminate breakage.

Patients with particularly intense personalities and who are prone to clenching their teeth or bruxing while sleeping, may repeatedly damage prosthetic teeth. This can generally be handled by wearing a simple night guard, however, discussing this possibility in advance with the prosthodontist will allow the lab to build extra strength into the teeth. The AvaDent® monolithic titanium supported prosthesis is a great advancement with increased strength and durability.

Pi Dental Center, Fort Washington, PA