Archeological data reveals that primitive dental implants may have been used in prehistoric times, while confirmed records show that they were surprisingly widespread by 600 AD. Modern dental implants were developed in the 1970s, and they did not become popular until the 1990s and early 2000s. Today, improved technology, falling prices, and better insurance coverage have made dental implants quite popular, yet myths and misconceptions abound. Here are the facts behind some common dental implant myths.
Dental Implants Are Only for the Rich
It is true that despite falling prices, dental implants cost more up front than dentures. However, they are only slightly costlier than dental bridges, which require healthy tooth structure to be sacrificed. Just a handful of implants can support a full arch of replacement teeth. They are far more aesthetic and comfortable than dentures, and they preserve oral health by reversing jawbone loss.
Dental implants are by far the most affordable solution when amortized over a lifetime. Dentures need annual relines, and both bridges and dentures generally fail in under 15 years. Dental implants can easily last a lifetime with proper care.
Dental Implants Are Only for Those in Good Health
If you have an underlying health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, any surgery is somewhat riskier, so you should have tight control over your condition. If you are in good enough overall health for extractions, though, you are generally in good enough overall health for implants.
We must treat any existing oral health issues such as gum disease or tooth decay before placing your implants. If you do not have sufficient healthy jawbone to support implants, we may need to perform a bone graft. Within these parameters, virtually anyone can get dental implants.
Dental Implant Surgery Hurts
Dental implant placement is a minor oral surgery, so some discomfort is to be expected. In general, though, the surgery is considered far less painful than tooth extraction. With modern technology and surgical procedures, a compassionate and skilled dentist can make the procedure nearly pain-free.
If you receive prescription pain medications, take them as directed even if you are not in pain. It is far easier to stay ahead of pain than to try to get rid of existing pain. Most people are back to work within 72 hours.
Dental Implants Are Prone to Failure
No medical procedure is guaranteed to be successful, but the success rate for dental implants is extremely high. Dental implants are made from biocompatible titanium that is nearly impossible for the body to reject, and across the board success rates are about 95%. A skilled implant dentist whose patients faithfully follow all aftercare instructions can achieve a success rate of more than 98%.