Dental implants have been reported to be rising in popularity particularly amongst the baby boomers (those born in the years 1944-1964)(Gan, 2018).
While the cost of dental implants has always been a deterring factor for many, technological advances and breakthroughs in recent times have significantly reduced prices of getting dental implants.
(Ang, 2019) With up and coming 3D printing technologies, the adoption of dental implants is sure to gain traction at a faster pace. Before you decide to jump on the bandwagon, read this article to clear all your doubts and queries!
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants serve as a replacement for missing teeth and in layman terms can be understood as “fake permanent teeth”.
A titanium screw which acts as a replacement to the root of a missing tooth will be surgically implanted into the jawbone before the replacement teeth is mounted onto them.
When and Why People Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are often an alternative to other tooth replacement methods such as dentures and bridges. Therefore, while the most common instance to get a dental implant is missing teeth, many others also get implants
- When a tooth is severe damaged and needs to be extracted
- When patient does not have enough teeth for dental bridges
- When dentures are loose and uncomfortable
Moreover, you might be surprised to find out that leaving the missing tooth space can have long run consequences which is why people choose to receive dental implant treatment.
Some long run consequences include :
- Shifting of neighbouring teeth
- Shrinking of jawbone causing an aged look
- Saggy face
- Lowered smile aesthetic
Positives of Dental Implants
- Nature and Stable : Compared to dentures and bridges, dental implants feel much more natural and similar to your normal teeth. They also do not require additional support and are more stable when chewing.
- Preservation of Tooth Structure : When getting bridges certain tooth structures might need to be removed whereas there is no need when getting dental implants.
- Independent Unit : As compared to bridges, dental implants do not need to rely on neighbouring teeth to function.
- Reduce Loss of Jawbone : As compared to dentures, dental implants also reduce the chance of jawbone loss.
- Ease of Maintenance : Since dental implants functions just like a natural tooth, only normal cleaning is required and there is no need for additional cleaning like in the case of dentures. One added benefit is that it will never decay!!
- Permanent and Long-Lasting : Dental implants are considered permanent tooth replacements and can last the longest compared to alternatives like bridges and dentures.
Negatives of Dental Implants
- Expensive : Compared to alternatives like dentures and bridges, dental implants cost much more *Read below for cost of dental implants
- Surgery Risk : The process of getting dental implants requires surgery which means to some extent, surgical risk is involved. While chances are low, some risks that may arise include: infection at implant site, damage and injury to surrounding teeth, nerve damage delayed bone healing, prolonged bleeding, jaw fractures etc.
- Chance of Failure : While the success rate of dental implants is high at 98%, there still exists a small chance of failure.
- Long Recovery Period : In certain cases, where the patient does not have enough bone mass, a bone graft surgery will be necessary. Total recovery time range anywhere from 3-18 months.
Who Is Suitable For Dental Implants?
If you have healthy gums and adequate bone density, getting dental implants should not be a problem. However, some people such as those listed below are less suited for the procedure:
- Heavy Smokers
- Heavy Drinkers
- Patients of Chronic Diseases and Disorders
- Patients of Gum Disease
- Young Children (as they have lower bone density since they are still development)
- Tendency of Tooth Grinding (also known as bruxism)
Will Getting Dental Implants Be Painful?
Local anaesthesia is used to numb the relevant area during the procedure and most patients have feed backed that there is little pain.
That being said, it is nature to experience mild soreness and discomfort after the surgery. This can be curbed with over-the-counter pain killers which your dentist can prescribe.
Dental Implant Procedure
- Consultation : The dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination using X-rays and 3D-models to determine your suitability for the procedure. In certain cases, where the patient does not have enough bone mass, a bone graft surgery will need to be conducted before the actual dental implant surgery.
- Anaesthesia : The dentist will apply local anaesthesia to numb the relevant region.
- Commencement of Surgery
- Incision is made at the implant site
- Drilling jawbone at implant site to make space for the dental implant
- Titanium screw is inserted into drilled space
- Stitching of the gum to cover the exposed jawbone
- Removal of stitches after 1-2 weeks and recovery period of 2-6 months for complete healing at implant site
- Dental crown is placed onto implant
*See photo below for illustrations of steps
Figure 1: Steps for Dental Implant Surgery (Group, n.d.)
Cost of Dental Implants
There is a huge range when it comes to cost of dental implants in Singapore. They start from $1,250 and can reach as high as $15,000 per tooth. The main factors that determine the price includes the type and brand of crown chosen, complexity of case, dentist experience and whether general anaesthesia is required.
But generally, the average cost range is $4000-$6000 per implant. While this is surely not a small sum, Singaporeans and PRs will be heartened to know that dental implants are Medisave claimable, up to a limit of $1250 per implant (capped at $7250 for a maximum of 8 dental implants).
All Ready To Get Dental Implants!
Here at Vivid Dental Surgeons, we aim to educate our patients on matters regarding oral hygiene and health. We hope that this article gave you clarity regarding the topic of dental implants.
If you are still unsure or is worried about any parts of the procedure, be sure to voice out your concerns to your dentist. Only by exercising good communication will you be able to receive the most optimal treatment.
Should you have any more questions regarding dental implants or other oral health related matters, feel free to drop Dr Ryan a message here.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to leave us a like and comment! You can also click here to read other oral health related articles posted on our blog. We upload new dental blog posts every 2-3 days so be sure to check those out!
Dr Ryan and the Vivid Dental Team wishes everyone a pleasant day ahead!