Top 5 Dental Implant Myths Debunked
Dental implants have become the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth, with decades worth of solid clinical evidence showing that they offer better support of oral structure and health, as well as increased patient comfort and satisfaction. Unfortunately, there is also decades worth of misinformation out there that can make patients who would be well-served by dental implants hesitant to seek the treatment they need. Among the most common dental implant myths are:
Myth: Implant Placement is Extremely Painful
Reality: Dental implant placement is oral surgery and there is some pain involved. However, most patients report that the procedure is no more painful or traumatic than a common tooth extraction. Local anesthesia is typically sufficient to make simple implant placement procedures comfortable for patients, and most find that over-the-counter pain medications can address discomfort immediately after the procedure.
Myth: Dental Implants Often Fall Out
Reality: Dental implants can fail, but failures are very definitely the exception, rather than the rule. The average implant can be expected to last 25 to 30 years, and according to the American Dental Association, they can last a lifetime with proper care. Clinical studies show rates of failure between 2 and 3 percent of the more than 5.5 million implants placed in the U.S annually. Failure risk is even lower among oral and maxillofacial surgeons as opposed to general dentists, their higher level of experience and training resulting in many of them achieving success rates of 99 percent or better.
Myth: Dental Implants are Expensive and Difficult to Care For
Reality: As far as expense, dental implants do involve a larger initial investment than other restorative options. However, lifetime costs are another matter, with costs associated with traditional dentures and dental bridges increasing over time. Removable dentures must be refitted or replaced every 5 to 10 years to maintain comfort and functionality, and the average bridge requires replacement after 7 to 10 years.
As far as care, dental implants are actually easier to care for than dentures or bridges, requiring just the same routine oral hygiene as natural teeth – brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings and check-ups every 3 to 6 months. On the other hand, dentures require specialized cleansers, brushes and adhesives, and patients must take care to clean underneath and around dental bridges to prevent accumulation of bacteria and food debris.
Myth: Implants Can Cause Migraines and Headaches
Reality: Among the latest dental implant myths circulating today is a claim that the titanium in dental implants can cause chronic headaches or migraines. However, there is no clinical evidence supporting a connection between titanium implants these conditions. In rare cases, surgical complications or errors, such as nerve damage, infection or damage to sinus cavities, can be the source of facial or head pain. More commonly, dental issues, such as a misaligned bite or TMJ disorders can cause headaches, earaches and pain in the jaw.
Myth: Implants are Only for Young Patients
Reality: Dental implants are commonly used and can be of particular benefit in older patients. Implants have been placed successfully in patients in their 90s and beyond, often to restore oral function in individuals who have become very limited in their ability to eat or speak properly due to missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures.
If you are in need of dental restoration and are considering dental implants, don’t let common dental implant myths get in the way of achieving a comfortable, healthy and beautiful smile. Speak to an experienced, board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a factual explanation of the risks and benefits of dental implants.
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