A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don't feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own! Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.
From original loss of tooth to final cementation of crown on top of implant usually takes about three months. This period can increase if bone augmentation is needed, or decrease slightly if the bone strength is very high and the crown can then be cemented almost immediately.
Once the bone has integrated around the implant and the situation is stable and healthy, it is the quality of home and professional care which determines how long the implants will last. Just as teeth can develop gum disease or periodontitis, implants can develop a similar condition known as periimplantitis which results in inflammation of the gum around the implant and eventually, if untreated, will result in bone being lost around the implant and ultimately loosening and then loss of the implant.
To prevent problems and to ensure that the implants last indefinitely, good home cleaning should be practised every day, and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist maintained. This way, plaque will not be allowed to accumulate on the surface of the implant (which causes gum disease) and any warning signs will be detected early and are usually reversible.
It will probably be necessary to replace the crown or bridge on the implant after a long period in function as these structures, just like teeth, can experience wear and fracture etc.
There are many documented cases of implants in function for over thirty years.