Many people are choosing dental implants over dentures to replace missing teeth, and for good reason. Dental implants are designed to fuse with bone, making them look, function and feel just like natural teeth. Unlike bridges, implants don’t require cutting down healthy teeth. Dentures can slip and slide, but implants always stay in place.
But implants aren’t for everyone. Before you take the plunge, make sure to do your homework and talk with an implant specialist. Some things to consider before considering implant placement:
- The amount and quality of bone in the jaw. Implants are most successful when they’re placed in the front part of the lower jaw, an area of dense bone. Success rates drop as you go from areas of dense bone to soft bone: front teeth, back part of the lower jaw and back part of the upper jaw. People who need a full mouth replacement usually get implants in the lower jaw and removable dentures in the upper jaw.
- The condition of your gums. Patients with gum disease can still get implants, unless gum disease has caused extensive bone damage.
- Your oral hygiene habits. If you have a hard time taking care of your natural teeth, you’ll have a hard time taking care of your implants. Implants can fall out just like natural teeth if the surrounding area sustains too much damage.
- How much you can afford. A single titanium implant with a porcelain or zirconium crown can cost up to $5,000. If you have several missing teeth, consider getting mini implants or conventional dentures. Removable dentures are cheaper, about $700 for a full arch.
- Whether you are a teeth clencher/grinder. Teeth grinding can put extra stress on the implant while you’re healing and after.
- Whether you have conditions that affect your body’s ability to heal. People with uncontrolled diabetes and bone disorders may have a hard time healing from surgery.