Archeological records show some evidence that primitive dental implants may have been in use during prehistoric times. They were surprisingly widespread by at least 600 AD. The modern dental implant was developed in Switzerland in the 1970s, and their use caught on worldwide in the 1990s. Today, dental implants are the gold standard to replace missing teeth, but this common procedure remains shrouded in myths and legends. Here is the truth behind 4 of the most pervasive myths about dental implants.
1. Dental Implants Hurt
It is true that dental implant placement is a minor oral surgery, and mild discomfort is to be expected. Yet most patients state that having dental implants placed is far less painful than having teeth extracted. A skilled and experienced dentist using the latest technology and protocols can render this surgery nearly pain-free.
If you receive prescription pain medications, be sure to take them as directed. It is much easier to stay ahead of any potential pain than to try to fight pain that has set in. Most people go back to work in 2 to 3 days.
2. Dental Implants Are Pricey
The upfront cost of dental implants is higher than that of other restorations such as dentures or a dental bridge. However, those restorations are only expected to last around 10 years. In addition, dentures cause jawbone loss, requiring them to be relined annually, while a dental bridge puts the supporting teeth at risk for fracture or decay. Dental implants are the only option that can last a lifetime, and can actually improve oral health by replacing tooth roots.
Be skeptical of “too good to be true” pricing. You do not need the most expensive dental implants, but the cost should be reasonably competitive with other local providers.
3. Dental Implants Are for Healthy People
It is true that dental implants must be placed in a clean, healthy mouth, so we must correct any other oral health problems first. In addition, underlying conditions such as bleeding disorders or diabetes raise surgical risks, so they must be under tight control. Finally, if you do not have enough strong jawbone to support dental implants, you may need bone grafting. Within these guidelines, though, virtually anyone can become a candidate for dental implants.
4. Dental Implants Are Prone to Failure
Dental implants are made from biocompatible titanium that is nearly impossible for the body to reject. In very rare circumstances, an implant might fail to fuse with the jawbone, but across the board success rates are approximately 95 percent. A talented implant dentist whose patients carefully follow all aftercare instructions can reach a success rate of more than 98 percent.