After placing and restoring conventional implants for over 25 years, I am excited to offer a more cost effective, time saving, and atraumatic means to the same ends.
We now can utilize mini implants which usually do not require tissue surgery or bone grafts and can be placed in about 30 minutes. They are used to replace lost teeth or stabilize dentures just like conventional implants but require no gum surgery or excessive bone removal like previous implant systems. The additional benefits are healing time, less complications, and a cost that is about half that of conventional implants.
In some cases the more complicated older systems are more effective, but in most cases I can offer great results at half the cost to my patients. This fits perfectly with our mission statement to offer the highest quality of care at the greatest value to our patients.
Remarkable scientific advances have improved the quality of dental implants. Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed in the bone to replace the roots of teeth that have been lost. The success rates of implant placement are now very high but the treatment is very costly. Each implant can cost $2000 and it has only replaced the root structure of one tooth. You still need to pay for the restoration which attaches to the implant and extends above the gum line.
There are still some issues that are overlooked when patients are considering dental implants. Sometimes implants fail. If someone has lost all of their teeth because of periodontal disease, their lack of hygiene will ultimately cause the dental implants to fail as well. It is also important to note that implants are more like a metal post set in concrete. They are very solid and can handle vertical forces very well. They are not very good at lateral forces. These qualities make restorations of dental implants very challenging. First, normal teeth are held in the bone by the periodontal ligament.
This allows teeth to move slightly when chewing forces are placed on them. Most people chew like a cow and do not just bang their teeth straight up and down. This sideways grinding between your teeth tears your food apart and is possible because of the flexible periodontal ligament. Without it, your teeth would wear differently and be more susceptible to fracture. An implant has no flexibility and does not like lateral forces. Think about a post and concrete. If you want to remove it you wiggle it back and forth laterally to crack the concrete or make a bigger hole so you can pull the whole post and concrete out of the hole. These issues have to be addressed when restoring dental implants.
They are great tools, but I have seen many cases where thousands of dollars have been spent restoring a beautiful implant case and one implant fails and the whole case is a failure. Because of the design, that one failure makes the only possible treatment the removal of the implant. Unfortunately, that means the removal of the entire bridge of crowns that are attached to that implant. This brings me to a very important concept that is paramount to helping our patients, STRATEGY.