Skip to content

Oral Care

Pricey Dental Implants Not Always Necessary, Study Finds

Teeth that are salvageable may be better off treated than replaced, experts say
Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

In some cases, of course, implants are preferred, Levin said. "There are several cases that usually require tooth extraction and are unsalvageable." For instance, he said, teeth with vertical root fractures or other structural problems.

However, some dentists are over-recommending implants, he said. "This might result from their belief that dental implants are better, which was proved wrong in our review, or from other reasons," he said.

Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association and a professor of restorative dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, said he doesn't get the sense that dentists are over-recommending implants.

The study, however, makes an important point, he said. "We can't assume an implant is going to be better than keeping the tooth," Hewlett said. "A lot of times keeping the tooth and nursing it along may actually be a better option, all things considered."

If a patient has gum disease, for instance, and the tooth is wiggling a bit, a patient may want to undergo periodontal treatment (such as gum surgery) and allow three to six months to see if the tooth responds, he said.

Some teeth, he agreed, are so damaged it would be difficult to treat them and implants are the best solution.

In the United States the cost for an implant --and the restorative crown that goes over it -- ranges greatly, but can be about $3,500. Treatments for saving teeth vary greatly, depending on what procedures are needed.

Insurance coverage differs, too, with extraction typically included, while coverage for the dental implants can range widely.

1 | 2

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

close up of woman sticking out tongue
Sores, discoloration, bumps and more.
toothbrushes
10 secrets to a brighter smile.
 
Veneer smile
Before and after.
Woman checking her bite in mirror
Why dental care is important.
 

Woman dissatisfied with granola bar
Slideshow
woman with jaw pain
Quiz
 
eroded front teeth
Slideshow
brushing teeth
Video
 

Variety shades of tea
Slideshow
mouth and dental instruments
Article
 
Closeup of a happy young guy brushing his teeth
Tool
womans smile
Video