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Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Even with wear and tear from years of eating and biting they can continue to function properly and look attractive well into your senior years.
Teeth are resilient thanks in part to enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. But the gums also contribute to this resilience: besides attractively framing the teeth, they protect the dentin and roots below the enamel covering.
Unfortunately, the gums can shrink back or “recede” from their normal place. Not only does this look unattractive, the recession can also expose teeth to disease and cause tooth sensitivity to temperature changes or biting pressure.
There are a number of causes for gum recession, some of which you may have little control over. If, for example, your teeth come in off center from their bony housing, the gum tissues may not develop around them properly. You might also have inherited a thinner type of gum tissue from your parents: thinner tissues are more delicate and susceptible to recession.
But there are other causes for which you have more control. Over-aggressive brushing (too hard for too long), ironically, does more harm than good as it can injure your gums and cause them to recede. More likely, though, your recession is a direct result of neglecting proper hygiene for your teeth and gums.
When teeth aren't properly cleaned through daily brushing and flossing, a thin film of bacteria and food remnant called plaque builds up on tooth surfaces. This can trigger periodontal (gum) disease, which subsequently causes the gum tissues to detach from the teeth and often recede.
To reduce your risk of gum disease, you should gently but thoroughly brush and floss daily, and visit us for cleanings and checkups at least twice a year. If you have a poor bite (malocclusion), consider orthodontic treatment: malocclusions make it easier for plaque to accumulate and harder to remove.
Above all, if you begin to see signs of gum problems — swelling, bleeding or pain — see us promptly for an examination and treatment. Dealing with these issues early is the best way to ensure your gums continue to do their jobs for the long-term.
Dental implants can do more than replace individual teeth — a few well-placed implants can support other restorations like a fixed bridge. The natural integration that occurs between the bone and the implant's titanium post creates a strong, durable hold for both implant and the supported restoration.
But if a bone-implant connection weakens, the implant could be in danger of failing. This can occur because of periodontal (gum) disease caused by dental plaque, a thin film of built-up food particles and bacteria on the teeth. Untreated, the infection can ultimately spread from the gums to the bone and cause it to diminish in volume. If the bone loss occurs around an implant the threaded surface of the post may be exposed, inviting more plaque buildup. This can trigger more bone loss and eventually implant failure.
That's why you must brush and floss daily to remove plaque on and around your fixed bridge just as you do your natural teeth. Brushing around a bridge could be difficult with a traditional brush, so you may want to use an interproximal brush designed for just such situations. Be sure any utensil you use contains only plastic parts — metal creates microscopic scratches in the restoration materials that could harbor plaque.
You should also floss between the bridge and gums as well as between any natural teeth. While this can be difficult with traditional flossing methods, there are some tools to make it easier.
One is a floss threader, a small tool with a loop on one end and a stiff plastic edge on the other. With floss threaded through the loop, you gently guide the edged end between the bridge and gums. Once it passes through, you wrap the two ends of the floss with your fingers as you would normally and work it along each side of the nearest implants.
You can also use pre-cut floss sections with stiffened ends to pass through the gap, or an oral irrigator that loosens and flushes away plaque with a pressurized water stream. Just be sure you flush debris away from the gum and not toward it.
Keeping all surfaces of your implant-supported bridgework clean of plaque is necessary for its longevity. Be sure you also visit your dentist regularly for more thorough cleanings.
The guide to get “low cost” dental implants
Dental implant is the state of the art solution in tooth replacement, much better and more reliable than a bridge or denture. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, almost 70 percent of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost “at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay“. People with one or several missing teeth need to consider dental implants as a viable solution to preserve healthy jaw bones or to prevent further damage to their oral bone structure. Implants are designed to perform like a natural tooth and as such are permanent solutions.
But, with so many different implant brands and different dental clinics offering implants for various prices, how would you know if you’re getting the implant that is going to look good and function as it was promised? While it may be an easy task for a dental professional to decipher the quality of the implant and assess the experience level of the surgeon, it is almost impossible for an average person to predict the outcome on the sole basis of price.
Now, I want you to know that the price you are quoted for a complete tooth implant does depend on these factors:
- The dental implant brand
- The need for a bone graft and the level of bone reconstruction
- The type of abutment and crown you will receive after your implant is placed
- The lab and quality of material they use to custom build the tooth structure
The success factor also depends on:
- The quality of the dental implant used
- The quality of abutment and implant crown
- The jawbone that supports the implant
- The surgeon’s expertise (Specialization; Periodontist)
- The diagnostic process to determine the correct location, size, angle, and height of the dental implant
- The patient’s oral hygiene after implant placement
So, with all these variables involved it’s easier to understand why dental implant treatments are quoted considerably different for different patients.
As a Periodontist, I feel obligated to also inform my patients about the costs vs. price of dental implants. I encounter many patients on a daily basis who are promised implant for $xx. While I do not endorse nor do I condemn such practices, I would like to make sure that my patients do understand the true costs of a dental implant. First and foremost I want my patients to be able to compare apple to apple. That means the real price comparison should be done on the exact product or service you will receive. Furthermore, the need to create sufficient bone structure will add to the price of an implant. These types of procedures should only be performed by an experienced and highly trained Periodontist (Surgeon). Lastly, the imaging technology that is used to precisely evaluate and measure the surrounding gum and bone for highly accurate placement is not available in all the dental offices. Although expensive, these diagnostic technologies significantly increase the success rate of the dental implant you will receive.
The high costs of low price implants:
Now, all these factors aside, I want my educated patient to also know that there’s a price vs. cost difference not only for dental implants but for anything else they purchase in general. To make it clear, I would like to explain that the price is the fee that they pay once. However, the cost is the sum of all fees they’d pay for the life of the product they want to purchase. So a product can be offered for a low price but end up being high cost. Vice versa, a product could be priced high but ends up to be very low in overall costs. In dental implant case, the price is what you pay to receive a dental implant today and the cost would be the total of all fees that you will be paying for the life of the implant in various forms. A dental implant that is not done correctly or not maintained properly can be very costly. It can get infected or fractured, and ultimately damage surrounding bone, gum, nerves, and/or fail to integrate.
The treatment process of any of these complications could add up to considerable sum of money and therefore need to be carefully considered when opting for a low price implant procedure done by an inexperienced dentist.
As a surgeon specialized in implantology, I have treated many failing or failed dental implants that were originally placed for very low prices. A failed implant wastes patients’ money and time, not to mention the additional procedures that you have to go through for the second time. But the damage may not be only limited to time and money as patient might have lost healthy bone that now require reconstruction for a new implant to be successfully placed.
Considering all the costs of redoing the whole treatment, I believe it is a smart idea to look for low cost dental implant and not for a low price one!
Questions to ask when looking for a low cost dental implant:
- Quality of the dental implant: Does the company offers a lifetime warranty? I know we do. How long has this implant been around? Which country was it made in? Is there any research that supports the use of this specific implant? What type of titanium has been used?
- The surgeon’s experience: Is implant his/her specialty? How many years of experience does the doctor have in the field of implantology? What is his/her success rate?
- The diagnostic techniques: Will the surgeon use a surgical guide during the surgery? does the surgeon use 3D imaging or 2D?
- The reputation and quality of the lab used by dentist: What kind of abutment will I get? (Custom or Pre-fabricated). What kind of crown will I get? (Porceline fused to metal, all Ceramic, etc).
In all, Complications and risks with dental implants are extremely rare if they are provided by experienced surgeons and restorative dentists. Proper diagnosis, planning, and techniques can eliminate many problems that can arise, thus reducing your costs to the minimum!