We were watching TV recently and the show in question was a popular Friday night institution known as the Late Late Show. The guests were a little ho-hum, and we found ourselves checking out the numerous audience shots that the studio director deemed worthy of showing us.
The audience could probably be described as ‘middle Ireland’, and seemed to represent a fairly decent cross-section of the country in terms of age. But here's the thing that caught our attention most – their teeth!
“No surprise there”, we here you say, and you're right. We tend to be a tad anal when it comes to checking out the dental health of the nation. The view we took, based on this ‘sample’ of a few hundred people was that we’ve come a very long way over the past couple of decades.
The vast majority of people had a set of teeth that they could be rightfully proud of, and what let the side down was not so much example of poor dental care, but the occasional missing tooth in evidence.
This seems to be a bit of a paradox. How can people have a good overall standard of dental health – but still be missing teeth? Well, it could be as simple as having a tooth knocked out in a hurling match, for example. Or perhaps a localized dental disease which resulted in loss of the tooth.
What’s the answer to this?
If you rolled the clock back a decade or more, most people who were missing a tooth or multiple teeth were faced with the prospect of dentures.
And while this ‘did the trick’ to a fair degree, there were a number of obvious downsides. First and foremost, of course, the dentures were prone to move or slip at the most inopportune times – often causing serious social embarrassment.
Also, they could be a tad uncomfortable, and wearers often complained that they never felt like they fully belonged in their mouth.
And then of course, there was the task of taking them out every night to clean them – another chore on top of the task of cleaning your normal teeth.
Can you explain what a dental implant is in simple terms?
Certainly. But in doing so, let’s tell you what it’s NOT. A number of people seem to have got the wrong end of the stick and believe that an artificial tooth is embedded directly into the bone. This simply wouldn’t work and would be impossible to fix in a way that would keep it firmly in place for the long haul.
The actual implant element is like a tiny stake that your dentist puts into the bone. Then he simply fixes the artificial tooth on top of this. It’s the same principle as erecting a fence in your garden – the stakes are the important bits as they keep the rest of the fence in place.
Why are implants so popular?
There’s very wide range of benefits to be had from dental implants. They’re more authentic looking, more comfortable, more reliable, and more robust than dentures.
Another important benefit, however, is that teeth implants prices have tumbled in recent years as the process becomes more and more common. They’re even more affordable if you opt to spread the cost over three to nine months with our 0% Dental Finance Plan.
Don’t be tempted to go for the dental tourism route
Every time we turn on the radio or open a newspaper, we’re coming across ads for cheap dental implants in overseas locations.
You need to be careful when weighing up the claims in these ads. Certainly, the prices they're quoting are cheaper than Irish prices, but remember that you have to add in flights, transfers, accommodation and subsistence costs before you arrive at the total cost to you.
Also, the standards of after-care service can be very poor. And what will you do if you have a problem – fly back out to the overseas dentist at further cost?
An interesting article to read on this topic is available on the website of the Irish Dental Assocation – http://www.dentist.ie/latest-news/the-dangers-of-dental-tourism-.6556.html