Older adults are less likely to have a full set of teeth, with a recent Adult Health Dental Survey indicating that only less than half of 75-84-year-olds have 21 or more teeth. Missing various teeth can also affect one’s self-esteem, making it difficult to smile or even socialise. These days, implants are being placed quicker than ever, with many clinics promising ‘teeth in a day’. Implants are costlier than dentures, but they are attractive for many reasons, including their impact on one’s diet. With implants, it is easy to enjoy foods such as crisp apples and other fibre-rich produce, which is important for human health in many more ways. Are implants a good solution for you and how can they be made more affordable?
When Implants Need to Wait
Sometimes, a dentist may recommend a solution such as a bridge instead of implants, or they may simply recommend leaving things as they are. This might be the case if there is just one tooth missing or if additional teeth such as wisdom teeth can easily move into the place of a missing back molar. Implants may also need to wait if there is significant decay or gum disease. In this case, the dentist may recommend deep cleaning, which would involve root planing and scaling. Thus, it may be weeks or months before one is ready to have an implant fitted. Sometimes medical conditions (including severe hemophilia, leukemia or diabetes) may also result in your dentist recommending an alternative solution.
How Much do Implants Cost?
In the UK, the average implant costs between £2,000 and £2,500 though your clinic may be able to offer you a better solution. There are options that make implants more affordable, including ‘all-on-4’ implants, in which fabricated teeth are set permanently on top of four surgically fixed screws in your jaw. These can be fitted in a day, which means reduced treatment time and the avoidance of bone grafting, since this procedure can increase your wait.
What if Bone Grafting is Necessary?
If you wish to have implants but you have insufficient bone, the dentist may recommend bone grafting. In this surgical procedure, implants are sometimes placed, but you will have to wait a few months before your dentist can apply a permanent crown. Time is required to see if the bone has grown as it should. Bone grafting has a high success rate but is not 100% infallible. In some cases, if bone is insufficient, your dentist may recommend a zygomatic implant, which involves fitting an implant directly into the jawbone.
Implants are an optimal solution to restore full mouth functionality. They also enable you to smile confidently, and are often recommended for those seeking a long-term solution to tooth loss. If you have one or more missing teeth, see your dentist about implantation as a way to fill gaps and prevent bone loss in the area where you tooth used to be.
Written By Jane Sandwood