Is it Worth it to Get Dental Implants?
When you’re considering any dental procedure or device, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have a dental procedure is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of getting dental implants. If you want to learn more about what the procedure and the recovery are like, please visit Dental Implants: the Procedure and Recovery.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential dental procedure with your own dentist.
Any procedure has risks, and they should be carefully weighed before you decide to proceed. Because dental implants require oral surgery to place them, the risks are more significant than with less invasive dental procedures. There is a risk of infection, which may damage tissue and may require antibiotics, oral or intravenous. There is a risk of excessive bleeding during the procedure, which occasionally requires a blood transfusion. There is a risk of damage to surrounding tissues, such as nearby tooth roots, nerves, and blood vessels, and some of this damage may be permanent. This means that you could suffer permanent facial numbness or pain after the implant surgery. If implants are placed into the upper jaw, they may protrude into the sinus cavity and cause health problems. Some people react badly to anesthesia. There’s even a small risk of death. While it’s important to know about these risks, they are small in most healthy people. You should talk with your dentist about your personal risk, and whether you’d be a good candidate for dental implants.
There is also the risk of failure of the implant procedure. After the implants are placed, they need to become integrated with the surrounding bone (a process called osseointegration) in order to be used to support an artificial tooth. Sometimes, the surrounding bone does not grow strong enough to support implants. There is a greater risk of this if you have bone disease (such as osteoporosis) or gum disease (periodontal disease), or if you smoke; most oral surgeons will not consider you a candidate for implant placement if any of these apply to you. Even if you are healthy, there is a small risk of the implants failing to integrate properly, in which case they would have to be removed and you would need regular dentures instead.
If you’re missing some of all of your teeth, you know how difficult this can be. Biting, chewing, and speaking may be difficult; there may be some types of foods that you have to avoid because you can’t chew them. Possibly even worse is the effect on your self-esteem. You may be very reluctant to show the huge gaps in your smile, so you may avoid smiling or laughing around others, and may change the way you speak so that people won’t be able to see how many teeth you’re missing. Our society so prizes a beautiful smile that having missing teeth can feel devastating.
Dental implants can solve the functional problems of not being able to eat and speak well. They can also solve the aesthetic problem by filling in the gaps. Dental implants are much more secure than traditional dentures, so there’s a high likelihood that they’ll feel and look just like your normal teeth. Many people are very glad to feel like they’re back to the way things were before they lost their teeth.
The cost of dental implants is around $2,400 to $3,000 for a single implant, and around $35,000 for a full set of implants (potentially much higher). Insurance may not cover the cost. The cost varies between dentists and in different regions, so check with the dentist you’re considering to find out the exact price. For more detail, please visit our Dental Implants Cost page.