When was the last time you smiled with confidence? If you are missing teeth, you may not even be able to answer the question. Tooth loss affects so many aspects of a person’s life – the ability to speak easily, smile confidently, and eat comfortably. Fortunately, there is a solution – dental implants.
A dental implant is a surgical component that integrates with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental crown, bridge or denture. Dental implants replace tooth roots and become the foundation for replacement teeth. Unlike traditional dentures or bridges, which sit on top of the gums and are often secured to natural teeth, dental implants become an integrated part of the mouth.
Dental implants are excellent for patients who have suffered from:
- missing teeth,
- failing teeth that need taking out and
- gaps in teeth.
There are other options to replace missing teeth as well, such as dental bridges or removable options (dentures). Unlike dental bridges and dentures, with dental implants there is no need to involve any of the adjacent teeth. Dental implants look, fit, feel and function just like natural teeth, making them a permanent and effective solution for tooth replacement.
Dental implants are composed of three different parts:
- The implant – the dental implant resembles a screw and is placed into the jawbone to replace the missing root. It is the permanent connection between your artificial tooth and your bone.
- The abutment – this piece serves as the connector between the artificial tooth and the implant.
- The artificial teeth – for patients only replacing a single tooth this will be a crown. Patients who have multiple missing teeth may have a denture or a bridge attached to the implants.
How long do dental implants last?
A dental implant procedure involves a titanium implant being surgically placed into the jawbone where, overtime, it will fuse with the bone. This integration allows the implant to be strong and stable enough to support your new teeth. Implants are very secure as they are firmly held in place with no slippage of movement. With good oral hygiene and regular dental care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Failure, despite adequate treatment, is a possibility in a very small proportion of cases and is usually due to the poor oral hygiene or smoking habits. The success rate in non-smoking patients with good oral hygiene is very high and figures of over 97% are often quoted. We always recommend you see a hygienist regularly to improve the longevity of dental implants.