Desire for dental implants grows – but patients need educating

Dental implants have become the popular option in the States for replacing lost teeth – but patients must be educated about their choices, a dentist has warned.

Dr Andrew Spector, a specialist in dental implants who previously taught at New York University, acknowledged that the implants ‘are the closest thing to natural teeth’.

However, Dr Spector warned that the procedure might not work for everyone and said people needed to be made aware of the risks and limitations associated with implants.

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, nearly seven in 10 Americans between the ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one tooth due to an accident, gum disease, or tooth decay.

By age 74, more than one in four American adults have lost all their permanent teeth.

So the demand for viable alternatives to awkward fixed bridges or dentures has grown.

Accordingly, the standard of dental implants has improved dramatically – the procedure is now less invasive and has a 96% success rate nationally, the publication Dental Economics reported.

‘… as beneficial as they may be to those suffering the loss of missing teeth, patients need to be educated before making any decisions,’ Dr Spector said.
‘This includes taking an objective look at certain implant procedures that are being aggressively marketed today.’

Heavy smokers are usually not eligible for dental implants, as their habit can reduce the success rate of the procedure by as much as 30%.

Smoking also increases the risk of gum disease, tooth staining and oral cancer.

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