Dental implants are a long-term solution to missing teeth, a secure and reliable alternative to removable dentures and dental bridges. What puts people off the most about the treatment is the price tag; however when looking at all the benefits that implants offer, they are worth the cost in the long run. Dental implants have the potential to last as long as natural teeth if they are well-maintained and looked after. Generally, when we’re asked how long dental implants last, we give an average of 15-20 years. However, great oral hygiene and a top dental treatment plan together will ensure that your implants have the best chance of a long life.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are positioned in the bone to act as artificial tooth roots. Over time, these posts start to fuse with the surrounding bone with a process called osseointegration. The implant forms a strong enough bond to be able to support a crown for a single missing tooth and even a bridge if there are a few teeth missing in a row. Implants can also be used to support a full arch for patients who have lost all their missing teeth.
What causes implants to fail?
Implants, just like natural teeth, can come loose and fail. Generally, this happens if something interferes with the fusing process. A number of factors could lead this to happen which is why, while your implant heals, we aim to see you so we can keep an eye on your progress. These are the factors that are the chief culprits:
Bacteria can cause havoc if plaque and tartar build-ups aren’t kept on top of. Your regular cleaning routine will protect your implants from bacteria which can cause the surrounding gum tissue to become inflamed. This will impact how strong a bond your implant fuses with the bone, weakening the supporting structures. Your best defence against gum disease is through a combination of your own home oral hygiene routine and regular trips to the hygienist to ensure your mouth is as bacteria-free as possible.
If you don’t have sufficient bone density for an implant, there is a greater chance that the implant will fail. Before starting treatment, we always carry out x-rays and CBCT scans to assess the supporting structures before going ahead. If the bone has degraded over time, which is natural if the tooth has been lost for a while, there are bone replenishment options to restore the bone. Bone grafting and sinus lifts are treatments that improve the viability for the implant treatment.
Smoking slows down your natural healing process and will negatively affect your oral health. To ensure that your implants last for as long as possible, stopping and cutting back on the habit will give your implants the best chance. Not just your implants, but also the rest of your natural teeth.
Some medical conditions can impact how successful your implants longevity will be. Diabetes and osteoporosis can impact your bone strength and recovery time. If you have a medical condition that will affect the success of the treatment, we will look into additional treatments to aid your recovery, such as PGRF.
If you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep, your implant may come under extra stress, impeding its healing process. If you suffer from bruxism, we can look into solutions to protect your teeth at night. Sleep-guards ease the pressure off your teeth, protecting them from wearing down over time as well as preventing future jaw joint problems.
How to look after your implants
Unlike with dentures, looking after your implants takes no extra effort than with any of your natural teeth. There’s no additional maintenance, just regular brushing and flossing. One of the major benefits of the treatment, your implants act just like natural teeth and look identical, meaning no one is any the wiser that you have replacement teeth.
You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Interdental cleaning, using either dental floss or interdental brushes, helps to remove plaque build-ups in hard to reach places. We also recommend that you arrange for dental check-ups every six months along with regular trips with your hygienist.
Every case is different. If your home oral hygiene is top-notch, we may only need to see you once a year for a check-up. However, we do like to keep an eye on implants so that you can rest assured that your money was well spent!
What to do if your implant feels loose
If you feel any movement in your implant, we strongly recommend that you arrange for an appointment. The sooner we can assess the situation, we address the underlying problem, preventing your implant from failing. If one of your crowns has become chipped or damaged, we can replace the restoration with a new one to fit in place. Simply get in touch with us and we can book an appointment.
Can implants be placed immediately after an extraction?
This is actually our ideal situation. Adding an implant directly into a newly emptied socket gives the implant the best chance of fusing to the bone. If you need to have any teeth removed, it’s definitely worth asking your dentist for the option to have implant surgery on the same day.
Find out more about dental implants
If implant treatment is something you’ve been considering for a while but have been put off because of the cost, speak to us about our finance options. At De-ientes Dental, we offer 0% finance options on our implant treatment to spread the treatment cost over more manageable monthly payments. We also offer free consultations so you can speak to our treatment coordinator to discuss our implant treatments and what expectations you can take from the treatment. You can book online here.
Our team at De-ientes have placed thousands of implants at Golders Green. We have a 98% success rate, restoring missing teeth and replacing dentures. If you would like to find out more about our implant treatment, please feel free to contact us at 020 8731 9020. We also have a free information pack that you can download here for more information.