Advantages: In the past people accepted dentures and gaps as part of growing older. In our modern society patients wish to look their best and live an active life no matter what their age.
Some patients find dentures uncomfortable and an encumbrance to eating. Implants are natural looking firm and function better than most dentures. The teeth either side of a space remain unaffected. This is of special relevance to the younger patient who suffers a sporting injury in an intact dentition. Bone levels and biting forces are maintained.
Disadvantages: Implants are a major investment in both time and money. They are not without risk as in all surgical procedures. In the lower jaw a major nerve bundle has to be avoided. In the upper jaw the sinuses can be involved.
That having been said, it is in no one’s interest to damage these structures and every care will be taken to avoid harm. It is therefore very important that you research and find a experienced practice you are comfortable with.
There is a certain amount of discomfort that can be controlled by painkillers after the surgery. Bruising and minor swelling may also develop after surgery. The crown may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years as the gingival margins change with age. Bridge work or dentures may be a cheaper option and should be considered before surgery is undertaken.