I am losing my teeth. It can’t be helped and has little to do with my oral health care. My dentist wants me to get dental implants. When he told me the cost per tooth, I almost choked. There is no way I can afford that. I can afford dentures. When I mentioned that to him, he said my smile would not be pretty. What am I to do? Sell a house I don’t even own? Is there any way to get a pretty smile without dental implants.
First, I want to assure you that whether or not you have an attractive smile is more up to the dentist than whether or not you have dentures or dental implants. It’s the skill and artistry of the dentist which makes the biggest difference here. If he’s implying that dental implants are more beautiful than dentures, that is an unfair pressure tactic and speaks more to his investment in doing beautiful work no matter what the procedure than anything else.
The one thing he could be referring to, which is honest, is a rather serious issue that comes with dentures known as facial collapse. When your teeth are removed, your body immediately begins resorbing the minerals in your body to use elsewhere. It does this because it recognizes you no longer have any teeth roots. Without roots, you don’t need that bone to keep your teeth in. So it decides to use the minerals in that bone elsewhere. In as little as ten years, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to keep your dentures in place. Not only that, the shrinking of your jawbone, gives you an aged appearance. This is known in dental circles as facial collapse. It may be what your dentist is referring to by an attractive smile.
Getting dental implants prevents facial collapse because the implants serve as prosthetic teeth roots. This signals to your brain that you still have teeth there and therefore need that jawbone.
You mentioned the cost per tooth. You may be under the impression that you have to get a dental implant for every single tooth. You don’t. That would be too expensive for just about anyone. Instead, what you would get is four to six dental implants and your dentist will anchor a set of dentures to them.
Doing it this way cuts the cost significantly all while having the same benefits of dental implants. As I mentioned to you in the beginning, the dentures themselves can be beautiful if the dentist knows what they’re doing. You have a two-fold mission now.
First, find a dentist with significant training in dental implant procedures. It’s an advanced procedure, so make certain they received post-doctoral training in them. Second, once you have a list of implant dentists, ask to see their smile gallery so you can get an idea of what type of skill and artistry they have. If you are having trouble finding someone who both can do dental implants and does beautiful restorative work, you can check with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Do a search on their website for an AACD accredited dentist. These are in the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. I’m certain you’ll be able to find one who can do your work and give you a smile you are proud to share.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.