Restoring the missing teeth with placing implants, has been around since late 60’s. It was first introduced by Professor Branemark (Swedish orthopaedic surgeon) and has not stopped evolving since then.
A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone. It has created a revolution in the way we are thinking and the fundamental base of restorative dentistry. Dental implants act as manmade tooth roots providing the supports in a similar fashion to the teeth supporting or retaining conventional crowns or bridges. The main advantage is replacement of teeth with a fixed and strong solution, which can withstand the forces of mastication equal with natural tooth. All this is done without involving adjacent teeth hence no biologic cost as such. The suitability of the patient for a dental implant comes down to a few important factors:
It depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to find out the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.
Implants can be immediately placed at the time of extraction of the tooth providing, that a patient does not to have residual infection in the area. The tooth to be extracted should not have acute infection. That still does not mean that a tooth can be connected to it! In order to immediately load (connecting a crown on the implant) the implant, the fixture (the titanium screw) should have certain stability (good bone quality). If the initial stability is poor at the time of surgery, the placement of the tooth has to be delayed for at least 12 weeks! The cost of implant treatment remains quite high, due to high component fee, materials and dental technician fee in comparison with other dental treatment.
How well you look after your implants – and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments – will have the biggest impact on how long they will last.
If you don’t look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth too.
If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.