Dental Education Lecture: "Implant is Good"
One day, Mr. Weng's bridge is broken and causes some discomfort. He requests out of his own will placement of an implant for a missing tooth (M in Fig.1) instead of redoing a bridge. In his word, implant is good. X-ray shows that next to the missing tooth is an existing implant (I). T stands for natural teeth supporting the old bridge, which has just been removed.
As old saying, customer is always right. We should place an implant for him. But first we need to place two caps (crowns) for the supporting teeth. So we take an impression and send it to a lab for the caps. When the caps are ready, we start to place an implant (Fig.2 P: pin we use to give us orientation of future implant). When the new implant is placed (I in Fig.3), we cement two caps for his natural teeth (C).
Three months later, we place an abutment (A) and crown (C) for the new implant (Fig.4). Mr. Weng is going to have another experience that implant is good. Fig.5 shows the implant is in good shape 20 months after cementation. In fact, Mr. Weng has another implant a year after the last one.
Most of my patients have had no experience of implant. They are overwhelmed by pain they expect and cost of implant. In fact, placement of implant is easier with much less pain than extraction. Although implant is slightly more expensive than bridge initially, the implant works, better than bridge. With bridge, we cannot floss normally. To make bridge, the doctor needs to trim down two neighboring teeth. If the latter are good, sound teeth, it is very pitiful. In modern time as it is now, trimming good, virgin teeth is a crime. You almost kills two teeth. With trimming, our teeth are most likely to have cavities and/or gum disease later on. Furthermore, when the bridge is broken later in your life, we have to fix three units of caps. We need to trim neighboring teeth again, pushing them closer to death. When the crown of implant is broken, we just need to fix one unit of cap. It is quite saving, of money as well as pain. Anyway, implant is good and probably the best in most situations to fix missing teeth. Thank you for attention.
Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 05/31/2010, last revision 09/27/2012