Should I replace my teeth with implants?

By Dr. Henry Wong Meng Yeong | Friday, May 30 2014

This is a case report of a patient who was misinformed that implants were better than teeth and had nine of his teeth extracted to have them swapped with implants. This patient in his early forties has had periodontal disease which we had successfully treated and arrested. His teeth were firm and gums healthy. With proper home care and professional maintenance he would have been able to keep all his teeth which he had gone to great lengths to save, having had crowns and successful root canal treatments. Removing healthy teeth only to replace them with implants is likened to amputating one’s healthy functioning limb in exchange for a prosthetic leg

Implants are a viable option to replace missing teeth and not healthy functioning teeth. Teeth with a reduced (bone and gum) support as a result of periodontal disease can be healthy and functioning. If left untreated periodontal disease can result in eventual tooth loss. The lack of oral hygiene, poor immunity and oral flora, factors which resulted in tooth loss can in the same manner result in failure and loss of implants. Implants require more maintenance and care than natural teeth and that is why God did not give us screws in place of our teeth.

It is evident from this radiograph of the same patient before he removed his teeth that he could have retained his periodontally involved teeth as there was adequate support. His teeth were firm and as long as he maintained a high standard of oral hygiene, in all probability he would have kept his teeth for many more years and saved the unnecessary expense of having implants.

Dentists on their part have to place their patients interest first and prescribe what they would do had they been the patient. There should not be a conflict of interest.

Patients on their part have to understand that keeping their own natural teeth should be their primary objective. They should not entertain the thought of replacing their teeth with implants. Periodontal disease if undetected or untreated can result in eventual tooth loss. Early detection and management will go a long way in saving their natural teeth and avoid the hassle and expense of implants.