In the year 2002, my cousins and I went to the pool for a swim on a hot summer day. We began to compete to see who could swim the fastest and who could dive into the cool water using the best diving technique possible. I came in second on the swimming competition. However, diving was not my thing. As I watched my cousins jump into the water one by one, I heard a shriek. Three-fourths of Alaa's left central incisor chipped off! What a disaster! Alaa, my cousin, is four years my senior. She has healthy teeth and a very nice smile, up until her front tooth was knocked out. The next day, she scheduled an emergency appointment with her dentist. He decided that there was no choice but to replace her missing tooth with a dental implant.
Alaa, however, is not alone. Over 150 million Americans have one or more missing teeth. Bridges and dentures are used to replace these teeth. On the same token, dental implants are also being used: “It has been estimated that 300,000 to 428,000 endosseous dental implants are placed annually” (4). There are many advantages and disadvantages patients face when they receive a dental implant.
Dental implants are not a new procedure. A 1,900-year-old skull was found south of Paris in 1997. This skull contained a twisted iron tooth. Clearly, this iron tooth was an implant that fused with the jawbone and is known to be the oldest dental implant discovered. As time progressed, missing teeth were replaced by dentures and poor fixed bridges. Therefore, there was an attempt to discover the best way to replace natural missing teeth. At the end of the 1800's, some dentists decided to reconsider implants as a solution to this problem. They used a variety of materials, such as porcelain, lead, rubber, and cattle teeth, to find an answer. Finally, in the 1950's, titanium was discovered to be an ideal implant element. It adhered beautifully to the bone and did not irritate the skin or surrounding tissue (1, 7-10).
Since then and until today, titanium implants are being used. They restore natural function to those who have lost some or all of their teeth. Also, it is very difficult to recognize a titanium implant in a patient's mouth because it looks very natural. These natural-looking artificial teeth require a 3 to 6 month treatment plan, which includes health and oral examinations, full-mouth x- rays, diagnostic casts, and photographs. This treatment plan is composed of three stages: the implant is inserted into the bone, the abutment is placed after the bone fuses to the implant, and the crown is placed. There you have it—a dental implant (2, 16-18).
Why do you think people will go out of their ways to place titanium in their jawbones? Well, there are several reasons patients get implants. The main reason is that patients are missing teeth. There are many people who have missing teeth. However, not every one of them is an ideal candidate for dental implants. Certain qualifications must be met and particular conditions should be taken into consideration. The implant must be placed in bone containing a certain amount of quantity and quality and should be nourished with a healthy blood supply.
Some dental, medical, developmental, and financial considerations should be addressed. Dental considerations are those that already exist in the patient's mouth. Medical considerations include pregnancy, chemotherapy treatments, smoking, diabetes, hemophilia, epilepsy, impaired movement, etc. Age is also an issue. If an older person is medically and dentally healthy, then that person should not have any problems when it comes to placing implants. However, children have a problem with dental implants because their jawbone has not fully developed. In this case, the implant will shift out of place as the bone is growing. Given that these qualifications are met, how many people can afford to pay for these costly implants? The cost of a single implant ranges from 2,000-5000 dollars. Nonetheless, if you decide to replace your missing teeth with dentures or bridges, it will cost you more. The reason is that patients need to replace their bridges and dentures every one in a while and occasionally need to be treated for bone support (1, 24-33).
Congratulations! You are an ideal candidate for implants. You are dentally and medically healthy and are willing to pay for these costly implants. But before you sign the consent form, I would like to inform you about some of the advantages and disadvantages dental implants have on patients.
Implants replace one or more teeth as single units and provide stability and support for a partial or full denture. They also improve the patient's confidence levels, speech, physical appearance, and self esteem. Implants also increase the patient's comfort in chewing (3, 608). They do not move out of place and do not require specific pastes and glues like dentures do. As with any surgical procedure, there are disadvantages and complications patients may come across. Patients may face soft tissue or hard tissue problems. When patients do not clean their implants as advised by their dentist, debris builds up and the tissues around the implant will bleed and become swollen. A hard tissue problem happens when an infection of the gums causes the bone to weaken. Other important disadvantages include medical and dental complications. Some patients develop uncontrolled diabetes, bone loss, cancer, a connective tissue disease, or oral lesions and ulcers (1, 141-148). In addition, patients may face extreme bleeding, pain in the jaws or sinuses, numbness, infection, a lengthy treatment period, huge financial investments, etc. (5, 11-13).
There are many advantages and disadvantages patients face when they receive a dental implant. Dental implants are beneficial in that they are natural-looking artificial teeth that replace missing teeth. They provide the patient with high levels of confidence, high self esteem, and most importantly comfort. It is crucial that patients take care of their implants by brushing and flossing as advised by their dentists. Otherwise, there are disadvantages that they may face, like surrounding tissue problems, cancer, bone loss, prolonged treatment plans, and financial investments. Despite these disadvantages, dental implants are the latest method for tooth replacement because they are a permanent restoration and are very much natural-looking. Since medicine and technology are on the rise, who knows what kind of tooth replacements will be discovered in the next few years.
This book is excellent. It is a well written and explains everything the reader needs to know about dental implants. The book is very informative, thorough, and easy to understand. It fully explains the advantages and disadvantages using words and visual aid. The author uses more than one success story to make the reader read further. It is recommended to read.
This is also a very good source. It is honestly a patient’s guide, as the title suggests. This book has many drawings that show the reader how implants work. There is a section at the end of the book that lists different references and gives information on each one.
This book is mainly written for dental assistants, however, it provided a lot of information on dental implants.
This position paper was interesting to read and provided plenty of information regarding dental implants. Even though this paper was written in a scholarly, scientific way, it was not difficult to understand what the author was trying to inform the reader.
This pamphlet is well organized. It informs the reader the basics of a dental implant treatment plan and who qualifies for it. It provides beautiful drawings in trying to explain how dental implants work.