Benefits & Drawbacks of Dental Implants

created by Rohan, Dental-Pedia Staff Writer

Dental implants are firmly-rooted replacements for the entire teeth structure. They’re inserted into the jawbone underneath the empty sockets of missing teeth, essentially replacing the root structures of the missing teeth. Over time, the jawbone heals around the implant through a natural process called osseointegration. Once the healing is complete, usually in 3 to 6 months, the implant becomes a part of the patient’s dental anatomy. The implant stays under the gum tissues, serving as a base for the dental restoration, i.e., the crown, bridge, or denture. The restoration is attached over the implant, thereby replacing the entire dental structure.

Dental implants look, feel, and act like natural teeth. After the healing process, they feel indistinguishable from natural teeth, making them the best teeth replacement options available. Below, we highlight the primary benefits and drawbacks of dental implants.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants

Benefits of dental implants: Dental implants have a natural appearance

Dental Implants have a Natural Appearance

The visual appearance of dental implants depends largely on the quality of the dental restoration. The implant remains under the gum tissues — the prosthetic is the visible part of the implant anatomy. As such, the appearance of the entire structure depends on the quality of the dental crown, bridge, or denture placed over the implant. However, the dental implant provides a firmly integrated base for the prosthetic — there’s no instability, gaps, or other signs of artificiality.

Zirconia implants look even more natural than traditional titanium implants. With titanium implants, there’s a slight risk of visibility through the gums. Over time, if the patient experiences gum recession, the metallic grey color of the implant might become visible through the gum tissues. However, modern ceramic implants have the same color and shade as your teeth, allowing them to blend into the prosthetic even if they become visible because of gum recession.

Natural Functionality

Dental implants function like natural teeth, restoring your full chewing power. As such, you can eat steak, hard foods, nuts, and other such objects without worrying about instability. Patients with dentures or missing teeth often experience slurred speech or diet restrictions, but that’s not the case with dental implants. In fact, their functionality is so natural that most patients eventually can’t tell the difference between the implant and the natural teeth.

Benefits of Dental Implants: Dental implants function like natural teeth, restoring your full chewing power.
Benefits of dental implants: Dental Implants are Easy to Maintain

Dental Implants are Easy to Maintain

Maintaining dental implants is no different from maintaining regular oral hygiene. You should brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. You should also limit sugary foods, stop smoking, and go for regular dental appointments. Basically, you have to maintain the same standards of oral hygiene as your natural teeth. Unlike dentures, there’s no need for special products, cleaners, or other advanced methods. 

Lifetime Replacement

Dental implants are supposed to last a lifetime, and, in most cases, they live up to that expectation. Whether you get titanium implants or zirconia implants, they integrate perfectly with your bone tissues, and there’s a negligible risk of rejection by the body. As such, they make for the ideal teeth replacement options. The prosthetic part of the implant, i.e., the crown or bridge, might need replacement in 10 to 15 years, but the implant will last a lifetime. 

Benefits of dental implants: Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss

Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss

The jawbone needs constant stimulation to grow and remain active. Without a tooth, the jawbone will starts disintegrating due to the lack of mechanical stimulation. You can experience up to 25% bone loss within a year of losing a tooth. Dentures and other prosthetic options don’t stop bone loss because they’re not firmly attached to the jawbone, so they can’t provide the necessary mechanical stimulation. However, dental implants are firmly rooted in the jawbone, and they restore your natural functionality. As such, they preserve the bone structure and prevent bone loss.

Dental Implants Prevent Facial Sagging

The loss of jawbone structure accelerates facial sagging. Without sufficient jawbone to maintain skin stability, the lower half of your facial features starts collapsing. You might develop jowls, sagging skin tissues, wrinkles around the mouth, thinning lips, and a double chin. This makes you look a lot older than your years. However, as mentioned previously, dental implants preserve the jawbone, which, in turn, prevents facial sagging. As such, dental implants make you look younger.

Benefits of dental implants: Dental Implants Prevent Facial Sagging
Benefits of dental implants: Dental implants ensure teeth stability, preventing a whole host of bite-related problems.

Teeth Stability

Your body is always inclined to close gaps in the structure. As such, if you’re missing a tooth, the surrounding teeth will start shifting towards the missing spot to fill the gap, leading to misaligned and crooked teeth. Besides affecting the appearance of your teeth, a poor bite can lead to oral health issues, interfere with your ability to chew, and cause jaw pains. Dental implants ensure teeth stability, preventing a whole host of bite-related problems.

Dental Implants Lower Risk of Gum Disease

The missing teeth create space for the accumulation of plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Maintaining cleanliness in the empty socket becomes increasingly difficult, and the increased bacterial presence eventually leads to inflammation, infections, and gum disease. The higher likelihood of gum disease also affects the surrounding teeth and gum tissues, putting your entire dental health in jeopardy. Dental implants close the gap, minimize the risk of plaque accumulation, and preserve oral health.

What are the Drawbacks of Dental Implants

Dental Implants are Costly

The primary drawback of dental implants is their cost. Dental implants are more expensive than all other dental restoration options, especially since they also include the cost of additional restoration. As mentioned earlier, the dental implant is just the underlying root structure — you also have to pay for the crown or restoration. Furthermore, as a surgical procedure, dental implants cost far more than simple prosthetics or dentures.

However, while dental implants are certainly costly in the short-run, they’re not as costly in the long-run as most people assume. Dental implants are permanent solutions to the loss of teeth, so you don’t have to worry about consistent costs of maintenance. Dentures, meanwhile, involve regular maintenance costs. Furthermore, dental implants preserve the jawbone, teeth alignment, and oral health, minimizing potential future costs due to gum disease, misalignment, and other complications.

Drawbacks of dental implants: Dental implants necessitate oral surgery,

Surgical Procedure

Dental implants necessitate oral surgery, i.e., the oral surgeon must make an incision in your gum tissues, manipulate the underlying bone, and attach the implant. The decision to undergo surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. You should also account for the negligible, but still present, risk of complications that follows all surgeries, such as infections, delayed healing, etc. However, most patients find the surgery worthwhile because it restores their teeth for a lifetime.

Extended Recovery Period

The entire dental implant process lasts for several months and includes multiple appointments. After the initial dental surgery, you have to wait for 3 to 6 months before the restoration. That’s because it takes 3 to 6 months for your jawbone to heal around the implants via osseointegration. You can only get a permanent restoration once your jawbone has healed completely. Until then, you’ll have to wear a temporary crown or restoration. The entire process will be even longer if you need additional procedures, like bone augmentation or sinus augmentation, before the procedure.

However, the recovery process isn’t painful. The actual downtime after the surgery only lasts for a few days, following which you can resume all your daily activities and work. You might have some dietary restrictions — you won’t be able to eat steak or hard foods. But, for the most part, the recovery will happen in the background without your conscious awareness. Furthermore, after healing completely, you have no other issues for a lifetime. In the long run, the recovery period is a mere blip on the road to having perfect teeth.

Dental Implants - Risk of Complications

Dental implants, both titanium and zirconia implants, have a small risk of failure. The risk of failure, i.e., the risk that your body will reject the implant, is negligible. Studies have placed the risk of implant failure at around 2%. However, in most cases, the failure occurs due to improper surgical techniques or errors. You can drastically minimize the risk of implant failure by approaching a reputable and reliable dentist.

It’s also worth noting that titanium implants have a slightly higher risk of complications and failure than zirconia implants. That’s because titanium implants carry an inherent risk of allergic reactions and titanium toxicity. Zirconia implants, meanwhile, have the same success rate as titanium, but they don’t carry the risk of allergies or toxicity, reducing the risk of failure and complications. 

Dental Pedia Checklist

Download our Dental Implant Checklists

Are you wondering if you need dental implants? Are you looking for a dentist for your dental implants? Are you preparing for your dental implant surgery? Please enter your email address to download our checklists for every stage of the dental implant process.

I agree that my data will processed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the privacy policy.

Candidates for Dental Implants
created by Rohan, Dental-Pedia Staff Writer

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss any more news about your dental health and benefit from exclusive tips, promotions and expert contacts every month.