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Dental Implant Treatment Options

Dental Implants May Be the Next Best Thing to Real Teeth

For missing teeth, dentures are no longer the only option. Dental implants have many advantages over dentures, and they may even be more cost effective.

The term "dental implants" can mean two things. Generally it refers to false teeth that are permanently affixed to metal posts that are implanted in the jawbone. Another type of implant involves metal posts that are used as support for dentures. This implant procedure is called "All-on-4" because four posts are implanted for each denture arch.

Both types of implants involve dental surgery. A dentist first examines the patient to determine if they are a candidate for implants. When teeth are lost, the process of jawbone deterioration begins. Some people who have been without teeth for a long time may not have enough bone left for implants to work. Other factors that can decrease the likelihood of implants being successful are smoking, diabetes or general poor health. Successful implants will fuse to the jawbone and become permanent. The material that tops the posts to create artificial teeth can last for decades, possibly a lifetime without needing to be repaired or replaced.

Full Implants

With full implants, each missing tooth is replaced with an artificial tooth that is attached to a titanium post. The procedure can be used to replace just one missing tooth, a few missing teeth or to replace all the missing teeth in the patient's mouth. The teeth are permanent and can be cared for like real teeth.


The All-on-4 procedure surgically implants four posts upon which a special type of denture snaps. If the procedure is done for upper and lower dentures, there are a total of eight posts. Traditional dentures usually require adhesive pastes or powder, and they have to be removed for cleaning and soaking. All-on-4 dentures never need to be removed and can be brushed like real teeth.

Cost of Implants

One reason why many people shy away from dental implants is the cost. Implants are expensive, but over a lifetime may be more cost effective than dentures. Dentures require continual purchase of adhesive, denture cleanser, cups and brushes. They usually need to be replaced every five to ten years. In between replacements, visits to the dentist are often necessary for readjustments or relining. When comparing costs, remember that the high upfront cost of implants results in permanent artificial teeth that will require little more than ordinary dental hygiene and routine dentist office visits.

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