Losing a tooth can affect your smile, confidence and self-esteem. However, replacing a missing tooth is possible using several techniques. One of the most popular and long-lasting options is dental implants.
Implant-based restorations are the pinnacle of missing tooth replacement and have been for many years. However, they aren’t ideal for everyone. Therefore, it’s essential to discuss why tooth implants might not always be a good choice. Here are nine good reasons not to get dental implants and why.
Quality dental implants aren’t cheap. Even the average cost of a finished dental implant is above $3000 in the US.
However, the high fees may be justified when considering how much work goes into a single implant placement. Yet, while many dental offices now provide payment plans, it isn’t financially viable for everyone.
Unlike other treatments, dental implants are not usually covered by health insurance. In some instances, insurance companies will cover the crown part of the procedure, but it’s unlikely they will cover the entire process.
Essentially, implants are seen as a cosmetic dental treatment. Unlike other dental treatments and services, implants are not classed as ‘medically necessary’.
Unlike other tooth replacement options, such as conventional bridges and dentures, dental implants require surgical placement. As a result, certain medical conditions or diseases may prevent you from undergoing treatment. So, do check with your GP when considering any form of implant-based restoration.
That said, oral surgery for dental implants has been honed over decades and is now safe, quick and (almost always) comfortable. So, if you are eligible, worrying about the surgical aspect is almost always worse than the event itself.
Dental implants are not a ‘set and forget’ procedure, unlike conventional tooth replacement methods. While they can last for many decades, implants need a lifetime of good oral care to keep them in top condition. Care includes thorough and regular brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits.
So why is this?
In the early days, in particular, implants are at threat from bacteria. If bacteria are allowed to accumulate around the implant, it will weaken the gum and (eventually) the supporting bone, causing implant failure. Therefore, sound oral practices are necessary for the preservation of the implant.
When an implant is placed into the bone, it relies on a process known as osseointegration or bone fusion. The nearby bone tissue will fuse with the implant over time, ensuring the implant is fully stabilized in the jaw. Once stable, the implant becomes part of the mouth, enabling the post to support a dental crown, bridge or denture.
However, dietary restrictions are necessary to avoid implant movement during bone fusion. Restrictions typically include sticking to a softer diet and avoiding hard, chewy or crunchy food.
If you are not prepared to make food changes, or you only have a limited repertoire of foods that you eat, tooth implants may not be for you.
If you want a quick fix solution to missing teeth, this is one of the key reasons not to get dental implants.
As mentioned in the last section, tooth implants take time to complete. On average, expect to wait 4-9 months from the first consultation to the final fit restoration.
Additionally, if you need further supportive treatments like a bone graft, this will also increase the time required.
According to the National Institute of Health, Implants placed in smokers present a 140% higher risk of failure than non-smokers. For these reasons, anyone considering an implant-based restoration should be prepared to quit smoking or, at the very least, stop smoking until the implant has fully fused with the jaw bone.
Smoking causes an increase in harmful bacteria and a lack of protective saliva and can slow the bone fusion process – all of which are significant problems for newly placed implants.
Therefore, other options are better suited if you can’t commit to stopping smoking, even for the short term.
If you regularly or subconsciously grind teeth, have uncontrolled diabetes, gum disease or jaw irradiation following a cancer diagnosis, these situations don’t bode well for dental implants.
Essentially, these conditions must first be dealt with or controlled to ensure the best possible outcome for implant restoration.
If that is not possible, your dentist will happily discuss other options.
Just like smoking, alcohol can also be detrimental to newly placed implants. Studies show that even small amounts of alcohol may be sufficient to cause implant problems, particularly in the first 1-3 days.
Alcohol causes vessels and capillaries to dilate. So, any tenderness or pain is heightened. In addition, alcohol can also restrict the blood flow carrying essential nutrients needed to heal the implant site.
If you don’t feel that you could avoid alcohol for at least 72 hours after surgery or cut down on your intake permanently (if you’re a heavy drinker), then this is a good reason not to get dental implants.
If you want to learn more about the relationship between alcohol and dental implants, we’ve written an informative post on the subject – you can check it out here.
So there you have it, nine reasons not to get dental implants.
Dental Implants are a permanent, life-changing option for missing teeth replacement. Still, anyone considering the process must have a balanced viewpoint upon which to decide. Hopefully, this article has given you exactly that.
At Chesterfield Dentistry, we know that undergoing dental implants is a big decision. Dr Akinwande takes great pride in ensuring patients are fully informed and makes it her duty to see that you understand every aspect of this procedure before committing.
Schedule a dental implant consult today to learn whether dental implants are right for you.
photo attribute: wayhomestudio on Freepik