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Decoding The Myths About Dental Implants

Sometimes, even a well-meaning person will get a fact wrong. That’s a misunderstanding. When they tell someone else, it’s a bit of misinformation. Repeat it often enough and it becomes a myth. Dental implants, like many other things, have accumulated a small body of myths around them. Let’s try and clear up a few of those myths right now.

Myth: Dental Implants Are a New, Unproven Technology

Fact: The technology of dental implants could hardly be called new. The principle of osseointegration, by which the titanium metal of the implant fuses to bone, was discovered in 1952. Dental implants themselves became widely available in North America in 1982. Since then, implants have helped millions of patients restore their smiles and regain their confidence. The procedure has a documented success rate above 95% - the highest of any tooth replacement option. So don’t fall for this story.

Myth: It Takes a Long Time to Get Dental Implants

Fact: There’s actually a grain of truth to this one – To properly plan and carry out the implant procedure, you need a group of people working together – including an oral surgeon, or periodontist, a prosthodontist, diagnostic and laboratory technicians, and clinical staff – along with the proper facilities and equipment that enable them to do their work. Not all implant providers have these capabilities. That means you might have to contend with multiple appointments at different locations, over a period of weeks or months.

But at Allure Dental Specialists, we bring together everything you need -- the experienced specialists, the high-tech equipment, and the caring staff -- under one roof.

Myth: I’m Too Old/ Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants

Fact: Only a dental implant specialist can tell whether implants are right for you. But if you’re healthy, age isn’t a large factor in the implant equation. Having some health problems doesn’t rule you out either. And, with the new techniques of bone regeneration and the all-on-four protocol (using four strategically placed implants to support an entire row of teeth), even people who don’t have an ideal bone density can get implants. So today, more people than ever can take advantage of this remarkable tooth replacement system.

Myth: Dental Implants Are Very Expensive

Fact: It’s true that dental implants are likely to have a higher up-front cost than other tooth-replacement options. But that cost may not be as high as you think – and it can vary a good deal, based on the state of an individual’s oral health. Also, keep in mind that dental implants are designed to last for the rest of your life. Other options – like dentures and bridges – need periodic replacement, may look unnatural, and can lead to health problems over time.

When you add up the long-term costs of maintenance, treatment and replacement involved with those other options -- and figure in the benefit of having permanent, attractive, natural-looking replacement teeth -- you’ll see that dental implants really offer the greatest cost effective long term value for your investment.

Dental implants have become the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth, with decades worth of solid clinical evidence showing that they offer better support of oral structure and health, as well as increased patient comfort and satisfaction. Unfortunately, there is also decades worth of misinformation out there that can make patients who would be well-served by dental implants hesitant to seek the treatment they need. Among the most common dental implant myths are:

Myth: Implant Placement is Extremely Painful

Reality: Dental implant placement is oral surgery and there is some pain involved. However, most patients report that the procedure is no more painful or traumatic than a common tooth extraction. Local anesthesia is typically sufficient to make simple implant placement procedures comfortable for patients, and most find that over-the-counter pain medications can address discomfort immediately after the procedure.

Myth: Dental Implants Often Fall Out

Reality: Dental implants can fail, but failures are very definitely the exception, rather than the rule. The average implant can be expected to last 25 to 30 years, and according to the American Dental Association, they can last a lifetime with proper care. Clinical studies show rates of failure between 2 and 3 percent of the more than 5.5 million implants placed in the U.S annually.

Failure risk is even lower among oral and maxillofacial surgeons and periodontists, as opposed to general dentists, their higher level of experience and training resulting in many of them achieving success rates of 99 percent or better.

Myth: Dental Implants are Expensive and Difficult to Care For

Reality: As far as expense, dental implants do involve a larger initial investment than other restorative options. However, lifetime costs are another matter, with costs associated with traditional dentures and dental bridges increasing over time. Removable dentures must be refitted or replaced every 5 to 10 years to maintain comfort and functionality, and the average bridge requires replacement after 7 to 10 years.As far as care, dental implants are actually easier to care for than dentures or bridges, requiring just the same routine oral hygiene as natural teeth – brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings and check-ups every 3 to 6 months. On the other hand, dentures require specialized cleansers, brushes and adhesives, and patients must take care to clean underneath and around dental bridges to prevent accumulation of bacteria and food debris.

Myth: Implants Can Cause Migraines and Headaches

Reality: Among the latest dental implant myths circulating today is a claim that the titanium in dental implants can cause chronic headaches or migraines. However, there is no clinical evidence supporting a connection between titanium implants these conditions. In rare cases, surgical complications or errors, such as nerve damage, infection or damage to sinus cavities, can be the source of facial or head pain. More commonly, dental issues, such as a misaligned bite or TMJ disorders can cause headaches, earaches and pain in the jaw.

Myth: Implants are Only for Young Patients

Reality: Dental implants are commonly used and can be of particular benefit in older patients. Implants have been placed successfully in patients in their 90s and beyond, often to restore oral function in individuals who have become very limited in their ability to eat or speak properly due to missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures.

If you are in need of dental restoration and are considering dental implants, don't let common dental implant myths get in the way of achieving a comfortable, healthy and beautiful smile.