A dental implant is a metal post that a periodontist or oral surgeon surgically positions into the jaw. It is ideal for anyone that is missing teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason. Implants provide superior benefits; they are stronger than natural teeth, generally last 10-20 years and they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support.
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures and bridges?
- Reduced bone loss
- Improved function
- Improved dental hygiene
- No need to drill or remove any healthy tooth structure
- Better aesthetics
Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?
Dental implants can be placed in patients with fully developed jawbones, provided that they have a sufficient quantity and quality of bone tissue available.
Circumstances where implants may not be suitable, or situations that have an increased risk of implant failure, include:
- Heavy smoking
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Periodontal gum disease
- Immune-compromised individuals
- Teeth grinders (bruxism)
What if I don’t have enough bone for dental implants?
Alternatives for replacing missing teeth include dentures and bridges. However, some procedures that can be carried out to enable treatment with dental implants are:
- Sinus augmentation(replaces missing teeth at the back of the upper jaw)- New bone in the sinus is created, can increase the height of the bone available for the placement of implants in this area.
- Onlay grafting – A piece of bone is taken from somewhere else and secured over an area that is deficient in bone; over time, the newly placed bone will fuse with the underlying bone creating a better environment for an implant to be placed.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants can last a lifetime depending on how well you look after them. Your implant-supported teeth can still be damaged by trauma and affected by gum disease and poor oral hygiene.