If you are missing one or more teeth, replacing them could help preserve your oral health. In many cases, your dentist may recommend a dental implant. Today, our Surrey dentists discuss dental implants and how long they should last.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant works to replace one or more missing teeth. They are surgically-placed artificial tooth roots that serve to support tooth replacements such as dentures, crowns, or bridges.
These work together to provide a natural-looking and functional tooth.
A dental implant consists of two pieces: a titanium rod that is placed into the jaw bone, creating the "root" of your new tooth, and a connector called an abutment that attaches the rod to the tooth replacement.
What are the best kinds of dental implants?
There are 3 main types of dental implants:
Endosteal - This is the most common type of implant and requires a healthy jaw bone for the titanium rod to bond with. The screw-like rod is placed into the jaw, below the gum line, and fuses with the jawbone over time.
Subperiosteal - An alternative to endosteal, subperiosteal implants are still placed below the gum line but do not fuse to the bone. Rather, they are placed on top and have a metal frame that is secured by the gums once they heal. This type is typically used for patients who do not have enough healthy jaw bone material to support endosteal implants or for those who do not want to undergo more intensive oral surgery.
Zygomatic - This is currently the least common type of dental implant. Zygomatic implants are typically only chosen if the patient does not have enough jaw bone to place endosteal or subperiosteal implants. They are more complicated and involve placing the dental implant in the cheekbone.
How effective are they?
Modern dental implant surgery has been performed successfully for more than 30 years and is considered one of the safest, strongest, and most effective ways to replace missing teeth.
Dental Implant Procedure
A dental implant procedure typically spans several months and requires a few visits to the dentist. To begin, your dentist will surgically place the titanium "root" below your gum line into your jaw bone. You will then let this heal for 3-6 months before returning for the next step.
Once your dentist has deemed that the titanium rod is fully healed, your dentist will then be able to attach the rod to the abutment, which will allow for your custom-made tooth replacement to be attached.
The end result will be an artificial tooth that works and looks like a natural tooth.
How long will dental implants last?
Dental implants can last 25 years or more. They are durable and can withstand many years of use, providing you care for them. This includes:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing every day
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for proper hygiene cleanings and inspection of your dental implants
- Protecting your teeth from damage (such as refraining from biting or chewing on hard materials or using your teeth as a tool to open items)
Your lifestyle choices and general health can also impact the success of dental implants. Certain illnesses, diseases, and medical conditions can lead to dental implant failure.
Tooth replacements, such as crowns, bridges, or dentures, may not have the same lifespan, even with diligent care. Speak with your dentist for more information about the tooth replacement recommended for you.
Why get dental implants?
Missing teeth can lead to several oral health concerns. If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants can help to protect your surrounding teeth from shifting out of place, can improve speech, chewing and digestion, and correct jaw pain or bite issues.