Dental implants have been available for several decades. However, for most patients, they are still a relatively new concept. When considering the cost of dental implants and comparing quotes, there are several important points that should be kept in mind. When comparing the cost of dental implants to other tooth replacement methods such as dentures and bridges, it is important to take into consideration the longevity offered by dental implants that is not always afforded by other, more traditional methods. While dentures and bridges are initially less expensive, their affordability can be short-lived.
Over a period of time, the jaw bone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants. Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Gum disease has traditionally been treated by eliminating the gum pockets by trimming away the infected gum tissue and by re-contouring the uneven bone tissue. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are used routinely today. One of these advancements is guided bone regeneration, also referred to as guided tissue regeneration. This procedure is used to stabilize endangered teeth or to prepare the jaw for dental implants. As periodontal disease progresses, pockets of degenerated bone develop around affected teeth.
When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defense against both bacterial penetration and trauma. When gum recession is a problem, gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option. When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices may be necessary. However, when recession is deeper, or even reaches the thin, spongy tissue known as mucosa, the first line of defense against bacterial penetration is lost and grafting surgery may be needed to help prevent further recession.