If we ask people who are not familiar with the dentistry or with the health field if It is good to get a dental implant, we can obtain different answers. From “I guess it’s not good but I don’t know why”, to “if you’re missing a tooth why not.”
On the other hand, if we ask this question to different dentists, most of them would answer that the dental implant is the best way to replace a tooth when it is missing, but that before extracting a tooth, all treatment options should be explored in order to try and save the tooth. That is, putting an implant is not the most recommended procedure to replace teeth with problems, but rather before you should opt for other solutions to save teeth.
The importance of good dental care
We know that teeth are something important to preserve, since without them there is no we can chew, crush, cut well or speak properly.
Also we have a periodontal ligament (space between bone and tooth) that is capable of controlling chewing forces so as not to exert more than is necessary, so it is important to take proper care of them and not wait until the last minute to treat them.
Good oral hygiene
Having good oral hygiene is not a difficult procedure, it simply consists of brushing your teeth at least 2 times a day (brushing before going to sleep is very important), floss and / or interdental brushes, and use some type of mouthwash recommended by our dentist.
Preserve teeth until needed
We consider that the best answer to this question is that we should not put an implant until it is really needed, or the tooth cannot be treated or maintained.
As dentists, our goal is to preserve teeth and we will always look for solutions to be able to keep them in the mouth and treat them until possible, and at that time we will resort to extraction and later to the placement of a dental implant, preferably, or a prosthesis, depending on the case and according to the patient’s preferences.
Negative consequences of tooth extraction
Once we have extracted the tooth, if we do not act with a certain speed, there may be negative consequences such as the extrusion (growth) of the antagonist teeth (those that contacted the extracted one), since they will not stop until they find a contact; and mesialization (forward movement) of teeth after extraction.
If we let these occurrences happen, it will be much more difficult to place an implant or dental prosthesis and we will have another problem to consider.
Whether It is good to have a dental implant in the absence of a tooth
The moment we have the absence of a tooth, placing a dental implant will be the best option. Scientific studies show that implants have high long-term success and are preferred by patients compared to bridges or removable dentures.
Before placing an implant we must study each patient, it is necessary to individualize each case, and take into account the advantages of implants such as safety and success rate, aesthetics, etc…
Furthermore, we do not damage the adjacent teeth. Implants can help preserve bone and allow good oral hygiene when done well.
Their disadvantages could be the economic cost and the loss of the implant due to lack of osseointegration or infection (peri-implantitis), although they have a high success rate.
Peri-implantitis consists of an inflammatory process that affects the bone around the implant and that will cause a loss of bone that we can detect on an x-ray and by probing the implant where we will detect an inflammation of the gum surrounded by frequent suppuration.
Once we have explained all the risks to the patient, it is clear that the dental implant is the best option to replace a missing tooth.
In conclusion, we must try to explain and make patients understand that the best option will always be our own tooth and that is why we must take rigorous care to be able to preserve it throughout life.
If the tooth has been lost, the best option will be to place an implant and a tooth or crown on it two months later.