As Joni Mitchell sang in her song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”; teeth are precious.
However, there are times that a missing tooth can be a bother. An implant is the gold standard, in these circumstances, to fill the gap. There are three common situations, in my experience, when implants are indicated.
- You grew up with missing teeth.
- You loose a back tooth
- You loose a front tooth.
The last example would indicate an implant, almost without a thought; the others are more subtle.
So, why replace a back tooth? Well, its part of the team, and when you chew, if you’re a player down, the rest of the team may loose heart and fail. So it is worth considering the replacement of a tooth that isn’t visible in your smile.
If you are missing a tooth that simply didn’t develop, well, that’s very back luck. It does sometimes happen, and we might address this with orthodontics and implants, although we generally don’t begin implant treatment until the patient has finished growing, at about 17-19 years old.
The alternative to implants would be bridges and dentures, but they’re not as good.
The implant process starts with a consultation and the whole treatment can be provided over approximately the next 15 weeks. During this time, you don’t need to go without a tooth as a fixed or removable temporary can be provided.
Although implants are initially an investment, I believe that they do provide a good return on this investment. Early implants, placed by Professor Branemark, lasted for approximately 40 years.
The average fee for an implant is between £2000 – £2500. This divided by 40 would indicate a worthwhile investment, considering we have a brand new, fixed, tooth.
The process is approximately 98.5% successful in non smokers, and approximately 80% successful in people who smoke.
I am sure that in years to come, people won’t consider the alternatives, and will always reach for an implant.