The choice of dental implants over traditional teeth replacement is fast becoming the optimal treatment alternative for many. Not only are dental implants proving more cost effective; patient satisfaction with the results is higher as well. These findings were reported in the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants which looked at 14 independent studies between 2000 and 2010.
Below we will examine what exactly dental implants are and how they differ from traditional teeth replacement procedures. We will also look at some of the benefits of dental implants that explain the higher satisfaction and acceptance reported in the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants study
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an artificial tooth root which inserted into the jaw bone in order to hold the replacement tooth or bridge in place. There are two primary types of dental implants. These are “in the bone” and “on the bone” implants.
In the bone or endosteal implants are the most common type of procedure. With ensdosteal implants metal posts or frames are inserted directly into the jaw bone mimicking a tooth root. One or more replacement teeth are then mounted onto these posts. In order to receive endosteal implants there must be sufficient bone in the jaw.
On the bone or subperiosteal implants are typically used in the case where the patient lacks sufficient bone for traditional implants. With this procedure the metal framework is fit snugly around the entire ridge with the implant posts at the top of the bone.
Why Dental Implants are more Comfortable than Traditional Teeth Replacement?
Dental implants tend to be more comfortable because the implants are fused to the jawbone. This provides a very stable foundation to crowns, bridges or dentures mounted to the implant. The fact that they are securely fastened to the jaw means that they do not slip or shift in the patient’s mouth.
Compared to traditional dentures and bridges, dental implants feel more secure and natural in the mouth. This is one of the primary reasons for the higher degree of satisfaction reported in the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants report.
Why Dental Implants can be used by a Wider Range of Patients?
With a traditional bridge there must be teeth on either side of the gap where the artificial tooth will be placed. In order to fit the artificial tooth into this space the surrounding teeth require to be ground down. With a dental implant this is not necessary because the implant is inserted into the bone itself. This means that even patients who may not be suitable for a conventional bridge can still benefit from dental implants.
Comparing the Cost of Dental Implants and Traditional Teeth Replacement
One of the most interesting findings of the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants study was the relative costs of dental implants vs. traditional teeth replacement procedures. The initial cost of dental implants was found to be more expensive than with traditional procedures. However the long term cost of dental implants was found to be lower.
In addition people who received dental implants were happier paying for the procedure because of the higher level of comfort with the implant and natural look and feel of the tooth itself.
In the past patients choosing between the two types of procedures may have been deterred by the higher initial costs. This study will hopefully reinforce the importance of the long term savings and satisfaction associated with dental implants.