This month’s Topic: Options in Tooth Replacement

by Dr. Bostani

Important Facts in choosing Implants…

Most people are unaware that there are consequences to losing teeth beyond the loss of those teeth. When a tooth is lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink (atrophy). The rate at which the bone shrinks varies by individual. Dental Implants embedded in the bone help retard the bone loss process. This is one of the lesser known reasons why Implant replacement for a missing tooth is becoming the optimal treatment choice for proper rehabilitation of the missing tooth and jaw.

When contemplating implant treatment, consider some of the following facts…

  • Wearing dentures (removable plates), especially ill-fitting dentures, can accelerate bone loss.
  • Studies have shown that at the end of a five-year period, less than half, only 40% are still wearing the partial denture(s) made for them by their dentist. Those fortunate and sufficiently conscientious to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years may still be losing valuable supporting bone.
  • Over the years, it is worth noting that teeth supporting a partial denture can be lost through tooth decay, periodontal disease, excessive torque forces or fracture.
  • Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Wearers of well fitting complete dentures can bite with about 50 pounds of force. Some who have worn dentures for 15 or more years have been measured biting with less than 10 pounds of force. It is not uncommon for their eating habits and food choices to incur dramatic alterations. Implants restore chewing function to a level closer to what one would expect with natural teeth. The bite force of the average male measures stronger than the bite force of a female.
  • The average lower full denture shifts from side to side approximately 0.25 inch during chewing. This is a significant issue that new denture wearers must acclimate to and accept.
  • Studies have noted that full denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake. 30% have their diet restricted to soft foods.
  • The 10 year success rate for single tooth replacement implants has risen to 98%.
  • The 10 year success rate for implant-supported bridges has risen to 95%. The added bonus is that traditional loss of bone that accompanies extractions has been diminished or eliminated.

When one factors the positive effects of bone maintenance, the health of the adjacent teeth, the projected longevity of the restoration, patient satisfaction and patient comfort, it’s not a surprise that implant placement is frequently the treatment of choice.