Are Dental Implants Worth The Cost?

Posted on Jan 29, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a periodontal specialist, I have advanced training in treating all stages of periodontal (gum) disease as well as in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants.

Over the years, I’ve seen exceptional developments in both areas. As research reveals more about the importance of having good oral health and the ability to bite and chew comfortably and securely, the adult population is taking note.

In some of my prior articles, I’ve addressed the correlation between the bacteria of gum disease and systemic inflammation. I’ve also mentioned the problems – both physiological and psychological – related to missing teeth, and primarily with wearing dentures and partials.

Losing teeth means their tooth roots are no longer held by the jaw bone. Without their presence, the jaw bone lacks the stimulation and nourishment needed to maintain a healthy mass. This leads to bone resorption. Simply put, this term describes a ‘melting away’ process of the bone where tooth roots no longer exist.

Not only do dental implants restore a sturdy, dependable foundation for replacement teeth, they recreate the presence of tooth roots. This halts the process of resorption and helps the jaw bone to retain it’s mass.

Why is the size of the jaw bone important?

When the jaw bone shrinks, the ability to bite and chew comfortably is compromised. The bone is also more susceptible to breaks and fractures. Another problem occurs with changes in facial appearance that are aging far beyond one’s actual years.

For example, as the jaw bone shrinks, facial muscles detach and jowls form. Deep wrinkling occurs around the mouth and the corners of the mouth turn downward, even in a smile. The chin becomes more pointed and moves closer to the nose. The mouth appears ‘sunken in,’ creating a ‘granny look.’

With all the positive aspects of dental implants, what keeps some adults from this ideal tooth replacement option?

In most cases, we find the only deterrent is the cost of implant treatment. Since treatment fees are all ‘up front,’ some people feel the expense is more than they can manage. Yet, there are payment plans that can help break implant fees into affordable monthly payments. Too, I like to remind patients about the life of a dental implant.

When properly selected, placed and maintained, dental implants should last your lifetime. Additionally, you’ll be able to bite and chew the foods you love without worrying about uncomfortable rubbing or embarrassing slips. You’ll also enjoy everyday pleasures, such as speaking, laughing and being close with others.

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) also addresses the importance of dental implants from an oral health standpoint (

“Dental implants may also offer better oral health-related quality of life compared with other tooth replacement options. This is related to the bonding of the implant with your jawbone – it can be more important than you might realize. Yes, it reduces the slipping associated with dentures, but just as importantly, it stimulates healthy bone formation. In contrast, dentures and other non-implant options can lead to bone loss over time as the body senses that the tooth is missing. In addition, while dentures may allow food to wedge in between the gums and the denture itself, dental implants behave like natural teeth.”

Rather than assume dental implants are out of reach monetarily, arrange a consultation appointment to discuss the fees as they would apply to YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS. There are many different types of implants and the one best suited for you may come at less cost than you realize.

I also find that people have misconceptions when it comes to implants. For instance, some assume that an implant is needed for each missing tooth. In fact, one implant can hold a bridge of several teeth and several strategically-placed implants can secure a full arch of teeth.

Let’s discuss your needs and goals according to a process that will enable you to enjoy the advantages of dental implants within a realistic budget. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a private consultation.

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