Wait! Don’t Trade-In Your Teeth, for Dental Implants, Just Yet!

As the ages change, constantly, into what we all understand as “modernity,” so has the word, itself, evolved without our acquainted permission.
The dental world keeps surpassing its concepts and notions. And so it is with every area of life, but we are here writing this short set of thoughts merely related to teeth.

For the past few years, the number of patients who walk into dental practices,  around the world, desiring to replace their old, worn down, beaten up or severely decayed teeth, with dental implants, is ever increasing.
And, I get it…the desire or the possible misconception that there IS such a need is quite real. Now don’t get me wrong, we run a dental implant-based practice, ourselves. But it is quite an often occurrence, in our practice, to meet a patient who has (what I would call) fairly  “bad-looking teeth,” coming in to try to get the ever popular All on 4, Full Arch, All on X, or All in 4 or whatever other names you’ve heard. Now, as far as you’ve read, there’s nothing wrong with patients  seeking these treatments, its quite alright. What isn’t good is the misconception that follows:

Patients regularly come to our practice, sit down, with one of our doctors, and say: “Hey doc, I’m ready! Please pull out all of my teeth. Then,  give me four, five, six or however many implants you want, but make it quick, while you put me to sleep, because I don’t ever want to visit a dentist again.” And, if we lived in a utopian world with utopian characteristics of the mouth (if that has ever been defined) then I’d be happy to do that for my patients. It is exactly here, that our ideas should be converging, but instead, it is here where our ideas diverge.

You need a dentist. Dentists need a dentist. Your friend with perfect teeth needs a dentist…or secretly may have one, already. However, we all need a dentist, who we can trust, to ensure that our oral health is on par.
Have you ever wondered why, in an era of such advanced technology, with fancy electric toothbrushes, science, and communication, people still have bad teeth, tooth aches, or they have no teeth at all? The answer is much simpler than you imagine; the oral cavity is “hostile” in nature, vengeful, antagonistic, unkind, biting, aggressive and rancorous, if I must.
What I venture to illustrate, by this sudden discharge of words, is that the mouth can be difficult to deal with, which is the precise reason dentistry still exists as a profession, today.

A tooth can very easily “go bad.” Your gums, or that little spot where food gets stuck between your teeth, can quickly create a cavity, a pocket, a recession, or even an infection. That tooth that hurt for two days…the one that made you decide you should go to the dentist, until suddenly the pain went away and you thought, “It’s all good. I’ll just cancel that appointment.” Then, the next thing you know, the pain is back, with a vengeance, and you don’t just need a filling, anymore. Now, you need a root canal. But, guess what, some of us wait those out, too, and the pain can, eventually, become unbearably severe. So, you end up showing up to an appointment, with a different dentist (one you’ve likely never seen before), because you were embarrassed to make another appointment, with your dentist you’ve cancelled on a thousand times.
According to your newest dentist, the tooth needs to be extracted and he or she offers you something called a “bone graft,” at the site of the tooth which needs to be pulled. You decline the additional offer in an effort to save those two hundred, or so, extra dollars.
A couple of months go by and you realize that you probably, actually, needed that tooth, not only cosmetically, but to be able to chew your food more thoroughly. Plus, you notice that you’re now only chewing your food on the opposite side of your mouth from where the tooth was extracted. Anxiously, you begin to wonder if that side of your mouth that you’re using the most could start having issues. So, you go to the dentist to inquire about treatment options for the space of that missing tooth. The story goes on and on, and you, eventually, remember that you didn’t opt for the bone graft offer, when you had your extraction, and now you need it for the implant that will fill that open space…only, now, it’s significantly more expensive. You decide to go on without a tooth for as long as you can.
Long story short, this is the scenario that I see play out in at least 85 percent of patients who are struggling with their teeth.
It’s the ever-known snowball effect. You see where I’m going?

Because the mouth is hard to keep “perfect,” for a hundred and one reasons, like: bacteria, poor oral hygiene, bad habits, forgetting to brush at night, taking certain medications, having a dry mouth, and the list goes on and on. It is a human NECESSITY to have a dentist perform regular check-ups on your oral health.

Anyway, back to the misconception in a nutshell.
If you still have some teeth left, although they may be “bad-looking” or decayed, LISTEN TO YOUR DENTIST when he or she  advises you that your teeth are worth saving, with root canals, crowns, fillings, and the whole arsenal of dental treatments. I would recommend a treatment plan aimed at saving your natural teeth, before I would recommend having a mouthful of extractions followed by a mouthful of dental implants.

WHY THIS RECOMMENDATION? Because, dental implants can go bad too.
WHY? Because, they too, are inside the  oral cavity, where many things can go wrong.

Sometimes, we tell our patients that if we can get another 10 years out of their natural teeth, then it’s worth the effort and the money to try to do so. It’s the same 10 years that their “implants” could be in function.
By no means are we against dental implants! As I’ve said from the beginning, we are an implant-based dental practice. We realize, however, that not even implants last forever, which is something that everyone should be made aware of and clearly understand. CAN they last a lifetime…in the same way that some people’s natural teeth last a lifetime? Sure, they CAN. That’s our aim. It’s what we plan for, work for, and  it’s what we hope for. Nevertheless, the reality of each patient’s circumstance and oral health is a case of its own. Trust your dentist, while at the same time, making certain that when deciding to get your remaining teeth extracted, it IS in fact the only remaining, viable option. If that’s the case, then dental implants are your BEST solution.

Thanks for reading, guys. We hope, if anything, that this introduces some dental awareness to everyone.
Sending you love.

Dr. Nestor Marquez
The Grace Dental Team

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