Disadvantages of Dental Implants

Sep 22, 2023 | Dental Implants

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

The decision to get dental implants is significant, and while they offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of their potential disadvantages. Dental implants have revolutionized restorative dentistry, providing a durable and lifelike solution for those missing one or more teeth. However, like all medical procedures, they come with challenges and limitations.

In this article, we will discuss the drawbacks associated with dental implants. From the initial costs and surgical risks to maintenance concerns and aesthetic issues, we’ll delve deep into what you should consider before opting for this dental procedure.

We recognize the dilemmas patients face when deciding on dental procedures. With the myriad of information available, it can be overwhelming to discern what’s best for your unique situation. Our goal is to simplify this process for you. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the necessary knowledge to make an informed choice, ensuring your oral health and smile remain in optimal condition.

Key Takeaways

  • Dental implants come with a high initial cost, often ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 per tooth. Insurance coverage is frequently limited, leading to out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Although implant procedures generally have a high success rate, surgical risks such as infection or damage to surrounding structures are still possible. Proper post-operative care and an experienced dental surgeon can mitigate these risks.
  • Implant failure, although rare, can occur due to poor oral hygiene or inadequate bone quality. Preventative measures like regular dental check-ups and bone grafts can help ensure successful outcomes.
  • Long-term maintenance may be required for dental implants, including potential replacements or repairs for components like the crown.
  • Dental implants are not a quick solution; they require a multi-step process and extended healing time for optimal results. Alternative treatments like bridges or dentures may be more suitable for those seeking immediate results.

What are the downsides of dental implants?

Dental implants are one of the most common solutions for replacing missing teeth. However, they have their share of challenges.

1. High initial cost

Dental implants are often hailed as the gold standard in tooth replacement. Though highly effective, dental implants can be costly initially. Let’s put this into perspective.

Dental implants, which provide a permanent solution for missing teeth, can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000 per tooth. On the other hand, dental restoration options like bridges or dentures typically range between $700 and $3,000.

The high initial investment in dental implants might make you wince more than the procedure. Yet remember that each treatment option has pros and cons to consider beyond cost.

Limited insurance coverage

To add salt to the wound of high costs is insurance coverage—or lack thereof—for dental implants. Many insurance companies don’t fully cover them but offer only partial coverage instead.

This leads to out-of-pocket expenses that may feel as painful as an untreated cavity. Be sure to double-check with your insurer about what exactly they cover before starting any treatments.

2. Surgical risks

The first concern is complications post-surgery. Although dental implant procedures have a success rate of 90 to 95%, just like any other surgery, dental implant procedures carry some risks.

    • Infection at the implant site can occur due to unsterile equipment or poor post-surgery care by the patient.
    • Injury to surrounding structures may also happen during the procedure. In rare cases, this includes harm to nearby teeth, blood vessels, and even nerve damage.
    • The proximity of our upper jaw to our sinuses sometimes causes sinus issues. These might arise when implants placed in your upper jaw protrude into your sinus cavities.

But don’t worry. These risks are greatly minimized with an experienced dental surgeon and proper aftercare measures. Plus, technological advancements have made this process safer than ever before.

3. Potential for Implant Failure

Despite the high success rate of dental implants, there are rare instances where your body might reject them. This isn’t to scare you off but to ensure you’re fully aware of what could happen.

The main culprit often lies in inadequate oral hygiene post-surgery, which can lead to a condition known as peri-implantitis. With proper care and regular check-ups, this is largely preventable. Peri-implantitis, similar to gum disease, causes inflammation around the implant area. If not treated promptly, it can cause implant failure.

Bone quality plays a significant role, too. A sturdy jawbone provides a strong foundation for the implant; successful osseointegration (the fusion between bone and implant) may not occur without it. Studies show that low bone density or poor quality drastically increases the chances of failure.

This doesn’t mean those with weak bones cannot have implants; modern dentistry has solutions like bone grafts that help improve your eligibility.

4. Maintenance and longevity concerns

Though dental implants can last long, they are not impervious to wear and tear.

The parts of an implant, like the dental crown, can wear down or break over time. It’s similar to how even your favorite pair of shoes will eventually need repair after heavy use. This means you may have to shell out for replacements or repairs occasionally. The ADA has info available if you’re curious about this topic.

Now, don’t start worrying too much. Regular check-ups with your dentist should help spot any issues early before they become bigger problems – just like regular car maintenance prevents major breakdowns.

5. Aesthetic and functional concerns

Dental implants can be susceptible to misalignment if not properly placed, despite their potential benefits. If the implant is not positioned correctly, your smile may be misaligned compared to other teeth.

Gum Recession

The next thing we need to address is gum recession around the implant. Gum recession can affect how your implant appears.

But here’s where things get even trickier – gum recession around dental implants is more than an aesthetic issue. It can also lead to serious oral health problems if left untreated.

Bite issues can be troublesome too

Poorly placed dental implants may also cause bite issues, which are as frustrating as biting into an apple and realizing that there’s still some sticker residue left halfway through.

6. Extended treatment time

Dental implants aren’t a quick fix. They require significant time for proper placement and healing.

The process starts with removing your damaged tooth, followed by bone grafting if needed. Once that heals, which can take several months, the implant is placed into your jawbone.

This isn’t where it ends, though. The area needs to heal again before an abutment (a piece connecting the implant to the crown) can be attached. Only after this step does the dentist place a custom-made crown onto your implant.

Patient patience pays off

While dental implants may seem like they need forever to settle in, there’s good reason for all these steps. Each phase gives you optimal chances of successful recovery and long-lasting results.

In fact, studies show high success rates for dental implants due to careful procedure planning and adequate healing times between each stage.

A word on waiting periods

If immediate results are what you’re after, then dental bridges or dentures might suit better as alternatives. But remember: quality takes time. Dental implants offer robust stability because they fuse with your own bones during those seemingly endless healing phases – hence their popularity despite longer treatment timelines.

Who is not suitable for dental implants

Dental implants may be a transformative option, but they are not necessarily appropriate for everyone. Certain factors may make some people less suited for this treatment.

People with severe bone loss, like those suffering from osteoporosis, might face challenges. The implant needs enough bone to hold it securely in place. Without it, the procedure could fail.

Smokers and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart issues may have difficulty recovering from the implant due to slower healing times and heightened danger of infection.

If you’re currently undergoing radiation therapy in your head or neck area, that’s another red flag. This treatment could interfere with the body’s ability to heal around the implant site.

Pregnancy concerns

Expectant mothers should wait until after delivery before starting any elective oral surgical procedures, including dental implants.

This helps avoid unnecessary risks during this critical period for both mother and child.
Simply put, if you’re pregnant, wait until the baby’s born.

Alternatives to Dental Implants

If you’re looking for a different way to restore your smile, there are more options than dental implants. 


    • Dental Bridge: As the name suggests, it bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It uses adjacent teeth as anchors and can be a good choice if these teeth need crowns.
    • Root canal therapy: In some cases, saving your natural teeth is possible through root canal therapy. This procedure removes infection from inside the tooth while preserving its structure.
    • Gum disease treatment: Sometimes gum disease might cause discomfort or loss of teeth. In such instances, treating it could help improve oral health without needing an implant. Your dentist will give you tailored treatment options based on severity.
    • Partial or Full Mouth Dentures: Dentures, whether partial or full-mouth, provide another viable option for replacing lost teeth and restoring functionality with less invasive procedures than implants.

Weighing the pros and cons of dental implants

Dental implants have indisputably transformed restorative dentistry, offering a permanent and robust solution for missing teeth. However, as with any medical procedure, they come with their own set of considerations. From the high initial treatment costs and limited insurance coverage to potential surgical risks and the need for ongoing maintenance, patients must be well informed.

While the procedure boasts a high success rate and the promise of longevity, weighing these benefits against potential challenges is essential. Each individual’s unique circumstances will dictate the best course of action, so consultation with a dental professional is paramount before embarking on the implant journey.

Ready to take the next step towards a healthier smile? Request an appointment with us today and discover the best treatment options tailored just for you.

Eddie Kuo, DDS

Eddie Kuo, DDS

Owner @ New Leaf Rohnert Park

Professional Degrees

University of California at Davis – BS in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Neurology, Physiology, Behaviors

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Doctorate of Dental Surgery

State University of New York at Buffalo – General Practice Residency at Erie County Medical Center

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