Missing teeth can be replaced effectively with a dental implant. An artificial tooth consists of a root and a crown and replaces a damaged or diseased natural tooth. The “root” is implanted into the jawbone, and the crown rests on top. It is like a natural tooth in appearance, feeling, and function.
Implants have an impressive success rate of 98%. Studies have shown that most implants are still functioning well 20 years after being implanted. Do implants last for life? Read on to find out.
What Are Dental Implants?
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
Titanium is usually used for the implanted part of the tooth, called the root. Your body won’t perceive it as a foreign object because it’s compatible with the jaw bone. Rather than growing around the implant, the bone gradually forms around it, resulting in a solid anchor for the tooth.
Crowns can be made from porcelain, ceramic, or metal, and they are tinted to look like the rest of your teeth.
Who Should Get Dental Implants?
Implants are excellent for people with strong gums and jawbones. Ideal implant candidates typically have a strong enough jawbone to support the implant, do not smoke, have no serious health issues, and are willing to commit to the process for several months.
How Are Dental Implants Implanted?
After exposing the bone, the surgeon drills a hole through which the implant or “root” is inserted. Over time, the implant fuses with the bone, which grows around it (osseointegration). An abutment, or connecting piece that holds the permanent crown in place, is added after the area has healed. The new, permanent crown is then affixed to the abutment.
There are so many advantages to dental implants, such as:
- Their appearance resembles natural teeth;
- Your teeth won’t slip when you eat;
- Improved speech;
- A healthier mouth.
- Cleaning them does not require you to remove them;
- A single implant can anchor several teeth at once if you need several teeth replaced;
- There is no interference with nearby natural teeth.
Dental Implant Types
Dental implants are classified as either endosteal or subperiosteal by the American Dental Association. The third type of implant is the mini-implant, which can be used by those who can’t have regular implants.
A connecting piece is inserted into the jawbone with this type of implant, followed by a crown. This is the most popular type of implant.
Implants of this type are not embedded in bone. Instead, it is a metal frame between the gum and the bone. These posts extend through the gum and hold the crowns in place. These implants are rarely used nowadays.
In some cases, standard implants are not an option because the mouth does not have enough space or bone or cannot afford regular implants. The roots of mini dental implants are thinner, so they require less bone and are less invasive.
Taking Care of Your Dental Implants
Taking care of your implants is similar to how you take care of your natural teeth: brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and getting regular checkups. If you have a bridge, you should use a water flosser or floss threader to clean under it.
It is possible to encounter problems from time to time. Some people are afflicted by infections, injuries, nerve damage, or sinus issues. If bacteria get into the implant base, your gums may become red and swollen. If this happens, seek treatment right away as advanced conditions could lead to bone loss.
What Factors Can Reduce the Dental Implant Lifespan?
Dental implants are meant to last a lifetime, but some things can cause you to seek additional help:
- Type of implant: Miniature dental implants may not last as long as traditional implants.
- Inadequate maintenance and care: The same as with natural teeth, implants need to be treated as such. Without good oral hygiene, you can develop peri-implantitis, which weakens the bone and loosens your teeth.
- Insufficient bone: Osseointegration requires enough bone for implants to function. Grafting may be necessary for correction.
- Nicotine: When you smoke, blood flow to your gums is impeded, making the healing process more difficult. There is evidence that smoking increases implant failure rates by 20%.
- Age: Implants can be placed at any age. The jawbone, however, can weaken with age, especially if a person has been missing teeth for a long time.
- Underlying medical conditions: The bone and surrounding tissues can be weakened by osteoporosis and some cancer treatments. Other factors can interfere with successful implant placement, such as diabetes and gum disease.
- Medication – Several medications can cause problems. Drugs used to treat depression and osteoporosis can interfere with osseointegration. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can hinder the healing of bones. Recreational drugs and alcohol can also cause significant problems.
When a Dental Implant Fails
If risk factors are present, dental implants fail at a rate of 5% or more. Most failures occur within the first few months after treatment, usually because the bone did not heal correctly. If it fails years later, it is probably the result of improper care and maintenance.
It is possible to remove and replace the implant if the bone doesn’t heal properly. However, if you suffer from bone loss, you may need a graft before replacement.
Patuxent Orthodontics is the Place for Your Orthodontic Treatment!
There is no stopping dental implants. When carefully maintained, their success rate is almost perfect, provided you are healthy or free of physical conditions. Despite seemingly innumerable obstacles, chances are you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy and beautiful teeth.
So, will dental implants last forever? Yes!
What questions do you have about dental implants? Feel free to contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation! We at Patuxent Orthodontics are ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have. Our team is happy to help! For more information on orthodontic treatments, be sure to check out our blog!