What are the benefits of dental implants

What are the advantages of dental implants?

Dental implants are considered to be the best replacement for lost teeth. But why actually?

In addition to the obvious (big) advantage of restoring a tooth gap or even an edentulous jaw with a fixed denture, an implant has even more positive effects. For example, an implant protects your own teeth and a dental implant ensures that the jawbone does not degrade after tooth loss (atrophy).

The success story is no accident. The firm and secure hold of dentures, especially in the case of toothlessness, is probably the most notable advantage and owes their popularity to the implants.

The advantages of dental implants at a glance:

  • Fixed dentures (crowns / bridges): chewing function and aesthetics comparable to your own teeth
  • Removable dentures: Reliable and firm hold of prostheses
  • Preservation of the jawbone (bone loss prophylaxis)
  • Healthy teeth are spared (no grinding necessary)
  • Relief of your own teeth: abutment increase (more supports = more stability)
  • Long shelf life (forecast: good to very good)
  • Very tissue-friendly (biocompatibility assured)

Implants are firmly in the bone: dentures are worn safely

Implants grow firmly together with the jawbone. The bond with the bone is called osseointegration. This results in a secure hold of the implant. The attached dentures, regardless of whether they are single crowns or bridges, can then be stressed without any further stress: they are securely supported.

Shaky prosthesis: no fun!

Dental implants do not only carry fixed dentures. They also offer the option of fixing removable dentures and thus optimizing the hold of the prosthesis. A poorly fitting prosthesis leads to a loss of quality of life. You can neither eat and chew without problems, nor do you want to dare to go out in public.

The success story of dental implants can be traced back to this innovation: no tilting or wobbling of the prosthesis and improved chewing function means more comfort for the prosthesis wearer. A remarkable advantage!

The full dentures no longer tilt: implants ensure a secure fit

Is the prosthetic fit bad? Secure anchoring can help.

The majority of the implants placed (around 60%) are used to restore edentulous jaws.

In most cases it is then implants that improve or enable the fit of a prosthesis.

The hold of the prosthesis is often hardly sufficient, especially in the lower jaw.

Two implants are already sufficient to achieve a secure hold of the prosthesis in the lower jaw.

This can be done with the help of an implant bar construction or prefabricated retaining elements such as locator anchors or ball heads.

In the upper jaw, 2 implants are not enough

With 4 implants, the prosthesis can no longer tilt and the support is generally more secure. The bone structure in the upper jaw is softer than in the upper jaw, so 4 implants should be used there.

There is even a concept in which the hold of a full denture in the lower jaw is only improved with a single implant! Giving wobbly dentures a firm hold is not the only sensation: after every tooth loss, an implant with a firm tooth crown can permanently take its place.

Firm bite despite toothlessness: is every tooth replaced by an implant?

If you want a "firm bite" with complete toothlessness, i.e. a fixed implant restoration, the lost teeth are not replaced 1 to 1. A fixed dental bridge is then supported by 4-8 implants.

Not every tooth is replaced by an implant

It is technically possible to replace every single tooth with a single tooth implant, but it doesn't make sense (high costs, oversupply). 6 (to 8) implants per jaw have become established. The so-called “All-on-Four®-Concept”, which was wrongly viewed critically for a long time, has also proven itself as a treatment in which bridges in the edentulous jaw are supported by only 4 implants.

Dental implants prevent the jawbone from breaking down

Shrinkage through non-exposure: The body breaks down tissue that is not used. The example of astronauts, whose bone structure decreases due to the reduced force of gravity (= lower load), is well known. If a tooth is lost, there is no load at this point in the jawbone. There is a breakdown of bones (atrophy).

You look old without teeth

The atrophy is most pronounced in the case of toothlessness, think of the toothless grandmother with sunken cheeks. The soft tissue is no longer supported because the bone has receded.

Jawbone shrinks quickly

Just 6 weeks after losing a tooth, the fundamental restructuring of the jawbone is complete. But even after this time, the breakdown of the jawbone continues (depending on the individual character).

Dental implants counteract bone loss. Like a tooth with a tooth root, they put a strain on the jaw. He is "needed".

Implantation after tooth loss: the earlier the better

If you decide to have an implant and have the opportunity to start therapy soon after tooth loss, it is advisable to do so too. Because bone loss progresses rapidly after tooth loss.

An implant keeps the jawbone "active" and thus prevents further bone loss. Many implantologists therefore want to carry out an implantation as soon as possible.

An implant should also be placed early after bone grafting. Because without any subsequent function, a built-up jawbone also breaks down again. Incidentally, rapidly progressing bone loss is also favored by wobbly prostheses. Regular relining of the full denture is therefore important to counteract this.

Conventional dentures without implants: higher risk of losing your own teeth

If you want to close a single tooth gap, you have the choice between a bridge and an implant.

If you decide on a dental bridge, the neighboring teeth have to be crowned. For a crown, one accepts that the neighboring teeth have to be ground down so that the crown fits perfectly and brings the desired aesthetics. The material thickness (e.g. of ceramic) determines how much tooth substance has to be removed. The advantage of implants is that your own teeth remain untouched.

Grinding teeth is not without risk

The option of a dental bridge appears to be much more useful for teeth that are already filled with large fillings. Extensive removal of tooth substance from healthy teeth is always a risk. On the one hand, the prognosis of the teeth deteriorates, and on the other hand there is a risk of injury to the tooth nerves. Because the nerve inside the tooth (pulp) is expanded and can be easily injured. If the nerve is damaged, the tooth can die as a result of the trauma.

Pillar augmentation: Dental implants relieve your own teeth

If you want a dental prosthesis after tooth loss, in which your own teeth remain intact, an implant is the only option. Fixed bridges in particular, but also removable dentures, are fully supported by the rest of the teeth and increase the load.

Additional pillars in the form of implants can protect your own teeth from overload. Several and larger tooth gaps can be treated without putting additional strain on your own teeth.

Periodontal teeth are not reliable

Especially for teeth damaged by periodontitis, an implant as a dental prosthesis is the much gentler option. Permanent overload can lead to tooth loosening and premature tooth loss. A dental prosthesis concept can therefore quickly become obsolete if the pillar intended for it has failed.

Tooth abutments: more is more

Quite logically, if you distribute a load over many pillars, that means less burden for the individual. This concept is used on the one hand by implants for fixed dental bridges, but also applies to the improved hold of removable dentures (hybrid prosthesis) and hybrid bridges (fixed bridges on implants and your own teeth).

What are the advantages of dental implants for periodontal disease?

Periodontitis is responsible for the breakdown of the tooth holding apparatus in the jawbone. The degradation results in reduced root hold and thus loosening of the teeth. Since periodontal disease often affects the entire dentition, teeth that seem to be still firmly in place are also at risk from bone loss.

When choosing a dental prosthesis after losing a tooth due to periodontitis, it is therefore advisable to avoid any further tooth loss due to overloading if possible.

However, a successfully completed periodontal treatment is the prerequisite for implantation, since inflammation of the tooth bed can also spread to implants (peri-implantitis).

Dental prosthesis for periodontal disease: careful planning is necessary

If teeth have lost their stability in the bone due to periodontitis, a conventional fixed denture, such as a bridge, can be a heavy burden. Because if you choose a denture that is based on periodontally damaged retaining teeth, you run a risk. If only one of the overloaded pillars fails, the dental prosthesis is no longer necessary.

Removable dentures (e.g. clasp dentures, telescopic dentures) represent a more adaptable solution in this case. Although the abutment teeth are also stressed, premature tooth loss can be compensated for by reworking the denture.

Sustainable dentures: Dental implants relieve periodontal teeth

Compared to conventional dentures, implants have the great advantage of not putting additional stress on your own teeth and thus protecting them. Why? 

  • Your own teeth do not have to wear dentures, so they are spared and premature tooth loss due to overloading unstable abutment teeth is prevented (better prognosis for your own teeth)
  • Implants as independent pillars provide more stability and the forces during chewing are evenly distributed (less stress on each individual tooth / pillar)

Implants as support: hybrid prostheses

If you decide on a denture that is worn on both implants and your own teeth, this is a good compromise with stable teeth. These so-called hybrid prostheses (with fixed and also removable constructions) increase the service life of your own teeth, as the load is not exclusively on them.

The degree of severity of the periodontal disease is decisive for the choice of dentures!

In the case of a mild form of periodontal disease and teeth that are stable in the bone, nothing speaks against a dental bridge to close a tooth gap.

If a few teeth are already missing, it comes down to a removable solution. What if the remaining teeth have a poor prognosis? Planning a denture with "loose candidates" makes little sense if the concept has to be constantly changed.

Extracting all remaining teeth may be more useful and save costs and effort. Fixed implant restoration in the case of toothlessness can then even be more cost-effective than restoring individual tooth gaps with implants.

When planning dentures, the following should be considered:

  • How many teeth have to be replaced and where?
  • How stable are the potential abutment teeth (good or bad prognosis?)?
  • What are the requirements for implants? Sufficient bone supply?
  • Are the financial options available for an implant restoration?

The degree of severity of periodontal disease determines the dentures

Implants offer the most advantages as dentures for periodontitis, they can relieve your own teeth, close gaps tightly or provide additional support for removable dentures. Which dentures is the best depends primarily on the severity, number and position of the missing teeth and must be assessed individually.