Congratulations! You’ve made a wise decision and have invested in a dental implant versus “just living without a tooth there,” or altering adjacent teeth to accommodate a bridge which anchors to the adjacent teeth with a replacement tooth in the middle. Dental implants are wonderful at replacing missing teeth, but they MUST be
Dental implants can last for a lifetime and 95% of implants placed become fully functioning just as a natural tooth (teeth) would be, resulting in happy and healthy patients.
If an implant begins to show signs of failure, a patient may exhibit symptoms such as:
- A general feeling of discomfort in the area where the implant is placed.
- The implant feels loose and/or a warm sensation.
- A noticeable change in the bite and shifting.
- A sudden feeling of something foreign in the area where the implant is.
- Obvious pain or swelling.
These are just a few of the common early symptoms of possible implant failure. Always consult your dental professional if you have any questions, as they are more than happy to address your concerns.
Factors that effect dental implants
As mentioned, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime; however, many factors can influence the longevity of an implant. Such factors include:
- Diseases that affect the immune system, such as Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Paget’s disease, cardiovascular disease.
- Medications can alter the chemistry of the saliva which creates an acid-bacteria-friendly environment resulting in periodontal disease and dental cavities. A Biphosphonate, A class of drugs for osteoporosis such as *Fosamax can stunt bone growth and healing. ( Osteonecrosis.)
- Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, chewing tobacco, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse.
- Eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia.
- Poor oral hygiene and lack of dental care.
- Bruxism or “grinding” teeth.
- Improper placement and handling of implant when placed.
The initial placement of an implant is important, for if an implant is not placed precisely, the chances of failure increase. The four stages for implant placement include:
Stage I: A full dental examination and CAT scan are done to ascertain whether both the patient and the bone are good candidates for an implant. If so, then impressions, measurements and a surgical splint are constructed as a guide for proper sizing and placement.
Stage I I: Surgical implant placement. This is where the implant is placed into the jawbone. It may sound painful, but most patients report that having an implant placed is actually less painful than having a tooth extracted.
The implant is made of titanium, which is a special type of metal that is biologically compatible to human tissues. Once placed, the bone around the implant begins to osseointergrate, which means it begins to ‘bond’ to the bone in the socket. This is an important step because the implant needs to function like a real tooth and be able to handle the pressures of chewing.
Stage III: Impressions for the permanent restoration which may be a crown or overlay bridge or denture.
Stage IV: Placement of the permanent restoration.
With proper care and routine dental visits, your implant(s) can improve the quality of your life and health.