1- What’s an implant?
An implant is a replacement for a missing tooth. It is basically a post that supports a new crown or cap. It is the best alternative to missing teeth because it gives you the best overall result. It’s like having your tooth back.
2- Why would I choose to have an implant?
Teeth may become so weakened by root canals, decay or breakage that they are no longer good teeth and can’t be fixed. When this happens they need to be extracted. Trying to restore questionable teeth is not a good strategy because you are likely to have another failure or breakdown. Then you have spent good money for just a few years of service. Not a good ROI.
3- I already have missing teeth; are implants better than other solutions?
With implants you can chew and floss again. With bridges you can’t floss and you grind down adjacent teeth for crowns in order to secure the replacement tooth. Not a good idea in a lot of cases. Partial dentures are are often uncomfortable to wear because they move when you chew. They also harbor more bacteria.
4- How long will an implant last? Improvements in the systems have made them more predictable.
There is never any guarantee with any treatment, because it depends on how the body reacts to it. However, once integrated there is no reason why implants won’t last for decades. If you take care of your implants just like your teeth, they will last.
5- If I have a root canal treatment in a tooth and it needs to be re-treated, am I better off having it pulled and getting an implant?
The answer to this is most often ‘yes’. The reason is that when a root canal fails and has to be retreated, it is likely to fail faster the next time. While there is no substitute for your own tooth, once a root canal treatment has been done, the tooth is essentially a dead tooth. Then, once a root canaled tooth has become re-infected, it may be more cost effective to pull it rather than deal with the possibility of re-treating the same tooth again.
Dr. Carey O’Rielly is a holistic dentist in San Diego, California who truly understands and practices the tenets of holistic health, both as a practitioner and in his personal life. His remarkable knowledge of the field came about through years of study and experience, initiated by his own work-related health challenges.