Dental implants are a popular, long term choice for replacing anything from a single tooth to an entire arch and are now more affordable than ever before. As well as improving the appearance of your smile by replacing missing teeth, they can help to prevent other problems that frequently arise when gaps are left for longer periods of time. One of the most common questions we are asked by our patients is how long dental implants last for. In this article, we take a closer look.
Why choose dental implants?
There are many reasons why dental implants can be recommended as the best approach to replacing missing teeth. Firstly, they are a good choice to consider where the remaining teeth are healthy. Whilst traditional crowns and bridges may be seen as an alternative, these usually need to be mounted to the surrounding teeth and consequently can compromise their integrity. Dental implants, on the other hand, do not rely on other teeth to support them and therefore can help to minimise further damage.
Another important factor to consider is the risk of bone loss. When a tooth is missing for a prolonged period of time, the bone in the jaw around the gap begins to sink away due to a lack of stimulation. This may result in an unstable jaw, which can cause other teeth to become loose or even fail. It can also cause the appearance of premature aging which is often diminishing for confidence and self-esteem.
The most common reason by far that dental implants are chosen, however, is that they are considered a permanent replacement for missing teeth that looks and feels natural – just like having your own teeth back.
What exactly is a dental implant?
A dental implant consists of three key components – the implant itself, the abutment and the crown. Let’s take a closer look at each part.
A replacement for the root of the missing tooth which provides an incredibly strong base upon which the replacement tooth can be mounted. Implants are made from titanium because it is biocompatible – meaning it is able to fuse with the bone around it and become an integral part of the jaw.
This is a connector that links the implant and the crown together.
This is the replacement tooth that is mounted on the implant (and the only visible part).
Working together, these three components provide a strong and incredibly long lasting replacement for the missing tooth or teeth.
How long do dental implants last?
There are many factors which can affect how long dental implants last. Generally speaking, the most important are the quality of the implants themselves, the standard of the dentistry and finally how well you look after them. In most cases, you can expect your dental implants to last as long as your remaining teeth – usually a lifetime.
Our implant specialist Dr. Adrian Mullish studied dental implants at Harvard University in 2006 and since then has transformed the smiles and lives of many hundreds of patients. As well as promising the very best treatment with an exceptional success rate, he also prides himself in his gentle, painless approach to dentistry, meaning that you won’t feel a thing during your treatment.
One factor which will determine how long your dental implants last is the condition of the bone in your jaw. It is essential that the jawbone where the implant is fitted is strong and healthy. Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination as part of the planning process, looking for signs of gum disease which can weaken the jaw. He will also take x-rays if required. In some cases, additional dental work may be necessary prior to beginning your implant treatment, and in some cases it may be necessary to conduct a bone graft. This is a technique that is used where the existing bone is not suitable or insufficient.
Provided everything else is taken care of properly, the lifespan of your dental implants ultimately depends on how well you look after them. The better you care for them, the longer they will last, just like your natural teeth. Provided you maintain a good oral hygiene regime and ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy, there is no reason not to expect them to last for as long as your other teeth. Your dentist will be happy to advise you on the best way to care for your implants both immediately after the procedure and in the longer term – so that you can keep on smiling with confidence for years to come.
If you are suffering from missing teeth and would like to discuss dental implant treatment with our expert implantologist Dr. Adrian Mullish, call Adrian Mullish Dental Care today on Watford 01923 231861. Alternatively, click here for more ways to contact us.