If you are missing one or more teeth, you are probably wondering what your options are and what are the benefits and disadvantages of each. Dental implants are one option, but is it the best one for you? We’d like to share the story of one of our patients to help you decide.
Bob was a successful real estate investor, a college graduate, husband, father, and grandfather. He also had severe periodontal disease and was told by several periodontists that he would need to have all of his teeth removed. The disease in his gums was severe enough that he was at serious risk of other health incidents, such as a stroke or a life-threatening infection. Still, he put off getting the implants. As he put it, “an unhealthy habit called denial” led to his avoidance of the dentist.
The alternatives to dental implants
If you are missing a single tooth that you wish to replace, there are three alternatives to non-implants, including dental bridges and dentures. A tooth-supported fixed bridge involves grinding away at the surface of the healthy teeth around the missing tooth cavity to support the bridge. A resin-bonded bridge has wings on either side that adhere to the back of healthy, adjacent teeth. A removable partial denture is also an alternative to non-dental implants. If you are missing several teeth, the options are partial or complete non-implant dentures. All of these options have several disadvantages compared to dental implants.
The advantages of dental implants
Dental implants have health, well-being and cost advantages compared to the non-implant alternatives. Implants require healthy gums for the procedure, and implants stimulate the bone in your jaw, which can preserve the shape of your face and smile. Having dental implants requires a commitment to healthy dental habits.
Bob knew his teeth needed attention, but he put it off until after he suffered a stroke that caused partial paralysis. According to Bob, his health was otherwise good before the stroke. He worked out, was a healthy weight, and had regular blood tests that came back normal. After his stroke, an X-ray revealed severe decay in a root canal. It is possible this was the cause of Bob’s stroke. Severe periodontal disease can affect your overall health and has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
It is common for patients to say that they don’t feel they deserve implants, or that the money for implants could be spent elsewhere. We believe you cannot overestimate the importance of a healthy self-confidence. Your self-esteem is priceless. Bob shared that his dental implants gave him, “a strong confidence boost and a business card smile.”
While some periodontal offices will recommend “pull and replace” all teeth in cases of advanced periodontal disease, our mission at Creating Smiles Dental is to try and save as many of your natural teeth as possible. This philosophy not only saves your gums and teeth but is often far less expensive than full replacement implants.
If you are missing one or more teeth, or have severe tooth decay and gum disease, you should consider dental implants. You deserve a healthy smile and healthy gums. You deserve to feel great about your smile. And you deserve, just as Bob discovered, a better relationship with a dentist office that treats your dental health as part of your total health and well-being. Having a healthier, more confident smile is one part of “enjoying a healthier life with family and friends.”