Is an Implant Just an Implant?
I see different fees for dental implants. I look at the ads. I’m amazed at the discrepancies. I’m also challenged with explaining the differences to our patients. Because there are differences. And the differences can be enormous. In this brief essay, I’ll explain why.
There are many different brands of dental implants. For the most part, every dental implant is constructed of titanium alloy. Nearly all of them have screw threads to hold them into the bone. Some threads are deeper, some shallower. Some implants are textured. Some are smooth at the top. The interface between the implant and the component that holds the crown into the implant differs as well. Implant companies “sell” the advantages of each configuration to us.
But the truth is that all of them work.
The critical factor in implant success is the quality and quantity of the bone and soft tissue around the implant. That makes a much greater difference than the implant itself. And many people do not have enough bone and soft tissue to provide an adequate blood supply to provide long-term success of an implant.
Recognition of the supporting bone and soft tissue is the mark of a good diagnostician. It takes a skilled surgeon to graft bone and soft tissue sufficiently to create long-term stability of the implant. It takes a skilled surgeon to provide the bone and soft tissue that will allow the implant to look like a normal tooth.
You want the implant-supported tooth to look like a tooth. You want the bone support to have sufficient bulk and blood supply to keep the implant-supporting bone well nourished. And you want the gum tissue to be firm and well-nourished with blood vessels to provide resistance to dental deterioration. That is the mark of a trained surgeon. That is the difference.
Lee N. Sheldon, DMD