Here at Specialty Dental Care we know that patients have expectations. Patients who come to Specialty Dental want a few different things than those who see a family dentist on a regular basis. Patents who opt for an implant dentistry or periodontal solution want to keep their teeth wherever and whenever they can. These patients their smile to look and feel good. They want tp be able to chew and enjoy whatever they set their hearts to savoring when they approach the dinner table. They want treatment to be convenient, effective, and lasting. If their dentist has referred them, that dentist wants treatment to easier on their patient and them when the implant is restored to function.
Depending on your oral health situation, dental implants might be just right for you to keep as many teeth as you can, to fit crowns and bridges so that you can chew more securely. Or, if you have lost your teeth, dental implants can secure your dentures so that you can chew, and talk, and smile with more confidence that your denture will less likely slip or embarrass you. Almost 9 million dental implants are placed every years around the world, which means many of us know someone who has had an implant successfully placed and maintained in their mouth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Simply put, dental implants are designed to replace the roots of your teeth, they are the anchor to the bone in your mouth. If you have a tooth that’s damaged beyond repair. Dental implants have had many shapes as their design has evolved to facilitate the implants integration into the bone. Most implant designs are a ‘conical screw shaped ‘design that is inserted into the bone. This is the part of the implant is designed to stimulate the bone to grow into close contact with the titanium metal. This process is call ‘osseointegration’. Failure to stabilize the implant in the bone at this early phase leads to disintegration and the implant will fail. Protecting the implant from exposure and or movement for 6 weeks to 6 months (depending on its location in the mouth) usually leads to successful integration of the bone against the titanium surface.
The part of the implant closest to the top of the implant is called the implant platform. This part has many different design variations between different dental implants. These design differences affect how the gum and bone adapt to the dental implant and withstand the stress of chewing forces in your mouth. Proper design and selection of the platform depends on the location in the mouth and the type of bone and gum next to the insertion site. The platform is also hollow so that the abutment that holds the crown or denture retention device can be inserted into the dental implant. There are also many variations in the internal design of the platform that facilitate long term retention of the abutment with minimal displacement of the abutment during chewing function.
In addition, a screw is usually used to hold the abutment into the implant core and platform. Your jawbone is flexible- can bend and distort when force is applied. It is important to use an implant design that is appropriate for the different areas in the mouth o reduce the mechanical stress on the connection between the crown, the abutment, and the dental implant. Proper design with inclusion of fail-safe options can be used to ensure that your implant remains attached, your smile remains uniform and your chewing stable and unimpaired.
Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth with individual crowns that remain in place, or to improve the retention and stability of removable partial or full dentures. As long as your gums and jawbone remain healthy and you have adequate bone volume for the dental implant to fit into, you can use dental implants to restore improved chewing with more stability against displacement. With adequate bone and gum, you can restore complete function with a natural appearance to you smile.
The smaller “mini” implant can be used to maintain the stability and reduce displacement with flexible plastic attachments to partial and complete dentures. The plastic will ‘wear out’ but these removeable connectors are readily replaceable. They’re less expensive, but not as ideal for all crown replacement purposes. Our implant dentistry experts can figure out which kind of dental implant works best for you.
How Long Do They Last?
In most cases, dental implants are a solid long-term choice for fixing certain types of dental issues. Dental Implants are often needed for additional support in replacing natural teeth so that the remaining teeth last much longer. The key to making your dental implant last as long as possible is proper planning, placement, restoration and long term maintenance care. You’ll need to brush and floss or clean between the implants, And you still need to get implant/dental cleanings to scrape off tartar and hard to remove debris just as you would have before. But, one thing is for sure, dental implants don’t decay!. Basically, properly caring for your smile doesn’t change much whether you have a dental implant or you don’t.
With proper care, a dental implant could actually last a lifetime. The crown used on your dental implant may chip or break, an abutment may loosen, the retention screw and the plastic attachments may not last quite as long though. You can expect crowns to last a decade or more, if you are not a bruxer. Often an crown placed in an ideal situation may last around fifteen to twenty-five years. We have been placing implants since 1991. If the implant survives the first year (97% chance for that), we have seen most of our implants lasting for decades! We see more complications with the crowns or with gum disease. You’ll want to make sure that you’re taking care of your oral hygiene and seeing your dentist as often as needed for cleanings and exams to keep the gums heathy. The better you do in that regard, the longer your implant may last.
Another thing to mention is that the location of your dental implant could affect its lifespan. An implant that’s placed towards the back of your mouth may not last as long as one placed towards the front. This is because the bone is less dense and the implant and crowns are subject to higher chewing force stress and activity as you chew. Regardless of where your dental implants are placed, making them last as long as possible is mostly down to your commitment to proper dental hygiene.
Other factors can also help determine how long your dental implants last. In addition to your hygiene, other health issues can affect how long each implant will last. If you have gum disease, that could cause you to lose your implant earlier so your dental cleanings need to be more frequent- every 3-4 months. Other diseases that affect bone health, like diabetes, can shorten the life of your dental implants as well. Medications taken for other diseases can also impact how long the dental implants can be maintained. At Specialty Dental our implant dentistry experts will figure out if you’re a good candidate for this procedure when we evaluate your health and medical history.