As an authority in the field of dental implant dentistry I can tell you there ARE disadvantages to dental implants. Like anything else, there are pros and cons. Many dentists and patients speak about the pros of implants and bone grafting but there is not a lot of good information on the cons.
The Cost of Dental Implants
The cost of the procedure(s) is probably the most common disadvantage cited by patients. How much do dental implants cost? How much is a sinus lift bone graft? How much is an implant crown? These are questions I hear all the time. Dental implants and grafting in my office are reasonable and affordable.
Keep in mind that implants are body parts that you really want to make sure you have a very experienced surgeon as opposed to a novice that may do few implants per year. The cost varies depending on the difficulty or ease of your unique mouth.
Dental Insurance Normally Will Not Cover the Implants Procedure
Dental Insurance is another disadvantage. Most dental insurance plans don’t cover dental implants, bone grafts, sinus lifts, etc. Sometimes they will cover part of your procedure. They may only cover the crown, abutment OR the implant itself.
Keep in mind that dental insurance does not go very far at all. Unlike medical insurance, it has a very low yearly limit that has not changed in 30 years! So what ends up happening is the whole implant process costs more than the average $1000 or $1500 yearly limit set 30 years ago!
Don’t get me wrong, dental insurance helps, but it only helps with part of ONE implant if they even cover any of it. Many plans just exclude them altogether.
Dental Implants Require Surgery
Another disadvantage of dental implants is that it requires a surgery. The implant has to be placed into your bone. Surgery is not without risks. In my own hands, the dental implant complication rate is about 1%, but the average is somewhere between 5-10%.
Risks include, infection, prolonged bleeding, damage to other teeth, nerve damage, delayed bone healing, jaw fracture and many others. Knowing how to recognize and quickly treat complications is the key
If you have an overdenture or a full arch fixed implant bridge with plastic teeth, those teeth WILL wear out and need to be replaced. A porcelain crown or bridge on an implant can chip or break, too. The teeth that go on top of implants are no different than the teeth without implants. It is normal to replace crowns, fillings, bridges and dentures…they don’t last forever. Good design, a great lab and the diagnosis is the key to minimizing having to replace your dental work. Making implant teeth is often more complex and costly than the surgery and bone grafting…experience counts.
Over time you can lose bone around your dental implants
Some slight bone loss over many years is normal. If you lose too much bone, you may have to replace the whole implant. The original surgery and original fabrication design of the teeth are a huge factor in the long-term health of your dental implants. Choose a very skilled implant dentist.
Implants Take Time For Bone Integration
A common disadvantage for dental implants is that they take time. Although I replace many teeth, with same day implants and bone grafting, the majority take three to four months to complete. This is because bone just heals slowly. If you need bone grafting, treatment time can extend from 3 months to 18 months or more depending on your unique situation. A regular bridge can be made in days or weeks.
The bottom line is that there are disadvantages to the dental implant process. The reality is the pros outweigh the cons. Overall, the process is a long-term benefit for a short term sacrifice. Dental implants are by far the best option in the majority of situations when teeth are lost.