Dental Implants – Dispelling Some Of The Myths

added on: February 10, 2020

I remember when some people switched to Tab cola, one of the nation’s first “diet” sodas. This beverage gained almost immediate popularity. That is, until a study on the sweetener saccharin hit the media with claims that lab rats fed saccharin (the sweetening ingredient) had higher risks for developing cancer.

By the time investigations revealed the flaws in the research on saccharin (stating: “humans would need to drink the equivalent of 800 twelve-ounce diet sodas with saccharin daily to reach the carcinogenic doses that induced rat bladder cancer”), Diet Coke was introduced, touting use of the sweetener aspartame. (

Diet Coke took off as Tab sales plummeted with Tab never regaining its once-vibrant momentum. Although Tab is still in production, its distribution has ceased in some areas of the country. (

I’m certainly not promoting (or defending) the consumption of colas – diet or otherwise. (The acidity is dreadfully hard on tooth enamel and it causes oral dryness). However, I use this as an example of how information can sometimes be distorted, misconstrued, or downright false.

While many of us rely on the internet as a dependable source of information, reacting to sources of hearsay or rumor can unfairly alter perceptions.

When it comes to dental implants, there are a few areas that may be surrounded with incorrect info. I’d like to address several below:

• Long-time denture wear means you won’t be able to get dental implants
The pressure of wearing dentures causes the bone “ridge” that supports it to decline in mass. (For people who sleep in their dentures, this is an all day/all night pressure.) As bone mass declines, the amount needed to sustain the implanted portion may be inadequate – FOR SOME IMPLANT TYPES.
Today, there are certain implant designs that can be placed in reduced bone structures. For example, the All On 4 dental implant system can support implants in even severely reduced bone mass. Its particular design and placement at unique angles provides dependable support for a full arch of attached teeth.

• A dental implant will last forever
Well, “YES” and “MAYBE.” Like anything implanted into the body, such as a hip joint, kidney, or knee, there is always some risk for failure. However, dental implants have one of the highest of all success rates of any implant-in-bone procedure, up to 98 percent. Typically, the risk for failure occurs when infection seeps into the bone structure that supports the implant(s).
This is why patients who have implants should maintain excellent oral health, being diligent with at-home oral hygiene and dedicated to their dental exams and cleanings. Keeping oral bacteria to manageable levels plays a significant role in the potential for an implant to last the lifetime of a patient.
A particular bonus of dental implants is in their construction. Made of titanium, this metal successfully bonds with living bone. This means the bone will grow around it and not reject it as a foreign entity. This also helps in reducing the risk of failure.

• A Dental Implant is needed for each missing tooth
The implanted portion of a dental implant is positioned in the jaw bone to serve as a replacement tooth root. Although natural tooth roots hold only one tooth each, certain implants can easily support two teeth or a bridge of several teeth. When 4 – 8 implants are strategically placed, they may be able to support a full arch of teeth, which often includes non-removable types.

• Dental implants are expensive
Dental implants seem more expensive than other tooth replacement options (dentures, partials, crown-&-bridge), but are actually a bargain when all areas are considered.
Dental implants do not rely on the support of neighboring teeth. This means that crowning otherwise healthy, natural teeth is not necessary.
Dental implants, being implanted into the jaw bone, also restore stimulation that reduces risks for further bone loss. This means that bone shrinkage, often the cause of ill-fitting dentures or partials, ceases to progress.
There are certainly cases where the costs for implant treatment can involve more than that of the implant, abutment (the post inside the implanted piece), and crown (replacement tooth). For example, if bone rebuilding is needed to avoid the proximity of the sinuses (for upper implants) or the mandibular nerve (for lower implants), there are additional fees involved. Or, if periodontal treatment (for gum disease, for example) is needed prior to implant placement, there are costs associated with that in addition to the implant fees.

• Dental implant treatment takes 6 – 12 months
Today, there are “immediate” implants, which I feel may be inappropriately termed. Although replacement teeth can be attached to some implants at the same visit that the implants are placed, the ‘permanent’ restorations (typically made of porcelain) are not placed until the implant has been dependably secured by the bone that surrounds it.
Certainly, there are implant cases where a year is needed for absolute completion. However, these commonly involve bone-rebuilding procedures, periodontal treatment, or other additions to treatment. For traditional implants, up to 6 months may be needed before the final teeth are placed.
We like to assure our patients, however, that they never need to go without teeth. Even while the implants are “settling in” with the bone structure, a denture or partial can comfortably be worn. Too, we provide “temporaries” for patients to wear that provide a comfortable look and function during this “healing” period.

Dental implants are the next best thing to natural teeth. They feel like “real” teeth, look beautiful, and restore a confident, comfortable function. The difference I’ve seen implants make in a patient’s life is amazing.

If you have thought about replacing missing teeth or are weary of a denture or partial, call 586-739-2155 to arrange a free consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll sit in a comfortable room and discuss your individual needs and preferences. We can talk about sedation options, costs, and treatment times.

While you’re here, I can also introduce you to our Financial Coordinator. Deb can assist you with easy, monthly payment plans that are designed to fit most any budget.

Why let undependable information keep you from the smile you want – and deserve. Call today, or tap here to begin.

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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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