CONSUMER REPORTS ARTICLE
“Dental Implants – Should you bite?” (July, 1996)
About 19 million American adults have no teeth; another 113 million are missing at least one tooth. Many of those gaps are filled with dentures and bridges. But if you wear such an appliance, you’re probably familiar with the limitations – they can weaken your bite, cause discomfort, and even harm the adjacent teeth.
Many people are turning to dental implants – artificial teeth surgically anchored into the jawbone and intended to be a better-looking replacement. Ads promote implants as “the next best thing to natural teeth.” Perhaps 400,000 individual implants are now done each year.
But they’re a major investment and not risk-free. If you need extensive work, you could wind up paying tens of thousands of dollars, spending lots of time in dentists’ chairs, and waiting more than a year for your new “teeth.” You’ll also need to be an unusually assertive patient, checking out the credentials of the dentists and the implants they use. Some dentists who do implants have insufficient training, and some implant materials have been in-sufficiently studied.
Are implants worth all this? Their track record suggests they are, for some people – but because of their cost and possible complications, you should try other approaches first. Continue reading….