I recently spoke to a friend who had been to see their dentist after experiencing tooth ache. They were told that they should consider a dental implant to replace the tooth they were in pain with. The tooth couldn’t be saved and they felt that all of a sudden there was a discussion about spending £3000 for an implant and booking in to start the process.
The friend in question wasn’t entirely sure why his tooth couldn’t be saved and so I proceeded to explain the different scenarios that may deem a dental implant an option. After the conversation, he was much more informed about the idea of losing a tooth and replacing a tooth with a dental implant.
It got me thinking, how many patients in the moment (and lets face it, a stressful moment when discussing the loss of a tooth), didn’t fully grasp the concept of needing an implant and why? It spurred me to write this blog to clear up at least 5 reasons why an implant may be considered a treatment option for you:
Loss of teeth or loss of a large part of a tooth or filling
There are many reasons why a tooth may be lost, from gum disease to trauma to the loss of large fillings or a crown for example. It may be singular teeth, or it may involve numerous teeth. Whatever the reason, loss of teeth can lead to aesthetic and also functional issues. Although technically you can survive perfectly fine without posterior molars, it does make life more difficult.
Losing numerous posterior teeth may affect chewing and therefore quality of life, but also affects posterior support for the cheeks. Losing this support can affect the appearance and is often considered to be ‘ageing’. Options may include a denture to prevent this being an issue, especially if it affects numerous teeth or opposing teeth are affected. If you have spaces due to missing teeth for any reason, there are a few options that may be considered in order to close the gap and one of those options may be a dental implant or numerous dental implants.
Tooth decay can cause the tooth to become ‘rotten’
Dental disease such as caries (tooth decay), can cause the tooth to become fragile and fracture or break down. If the decay becomes too extensive, a filling may no longer be a good enough option. If this is the case and an extraction becomes your only option, your dentist may discuss an implant with you to fill the space.
Death of a tooth from trauma
A tooth may become discoloured and ‘die’ if it undergoes trauma in any way. This happens when the nerve and blood supply to the tooth is compromised and blood leaks into the tubules that make up the bulk of the tooth. If there is no resulting infection, an option may be to crown or veneer the tooth if the discolouration bothers you. However, trauma can sometimes cause an infection to develop at the apex of the tooth. If this doesn’t respond well to treatment, your next option may be to replace it. Some people opt for an implant as a replacement.
If a root becomes fractured, this can be very difficult to treat. It often leads to an infection that may prove hard to treat too. Sometimes root fractures are so fine we cannot see it well enough to treat it effectively. Unfortunately, this can mean root fractures often lead to tooth loss. Your dentist may discuss implants with you as an option to replace a missing tooth caused by a root fracture.
Tooth congenitally missing from birth
Some people are born with teeth missing altogether. Sometimes teeth just don’t grow or grow properly as we are developing. This can lead to spaces in the dentition or a dentition that may not be aesthetically pleasing to the owner. The next best thing to having your own tooth when a tooth is congenitally missing, is to have a dental implant.
This article was written by Claire Berry a multi -award winning hygienist and author. Claire trained as a dental hygienist whilst serving in the Army, qualifying in 2009. Currently works in 3 practices, as well as being a key opinion leader for brands such as Oral B, Boutique and an ambassador for the BSDHT. With articles published in BDJ In Practice, The Probe, Smile magazine, DH Contact, Young Dentist magazine, as well as numerous FMC publications including a monthly hygienist blog and is on the board for Clinical Dentistry Magazine and Dental Nurse magazine