Are you considering dental implants? If, so, then you’re probably aware that dental implants boast an extremely high success rate of 95%. You’ve probably also read on more than one occasion that dental implants can last a lifetime. That doesn’t really give any clue to their longevity since one person’s lifetime could be considerably longer (or shorter) than that of another person. What we do know, however, is that the dental implants placed into the first-ever implants patient were still going strong when they passed away some 40 years later.
That doesn’t mean we can take dental implant success for granted. You see, there are 5 important factors to be aware of that can and do affect the success or failure of a dental implant. So let’s dive in and take a closer look.
It’s important to understand that dental implants need to be decided upon as quickly as possible when teeth are failing and need replacement; or if a tooth is lost through decay, trauma or injury.
When teeth are no longer present, the bone that held them in place in reabsorbed by the body because it thinks there is no further use for it. As a result, the bone starts to thin and eventually, the jaw changes shape – causing the facial features to sag and a person to look older.
To thrive, dental implants need to be placed into dense, healthy bone, because just like natural teeth they need this to support them. That doesn’t rule out a person with thin bone from getting dental implants, but it does mean that a bone graft will be necessary which involves additional oral surgery, additional costs, and additional waiting time before the dental implant procedure can take place.
Gum disease is the number one enemy of dental implants and in severe cases can lead to gum recession and bone erosion, which in turn, is likely to result in the implant failing/and or falling out.
A dental implant must be placed into a healthy mouth that is free from decay and gum disease but it’s just as important that a patient is committed to maintaining a high standard of oral care throughout the dental implant procedure and ultimately, forevermore. So as you can see gum disease (or rather lack of it) is very important to dental implants success rate.
As you probably know, dental implants are surgically placed into the jaw at the site of the missing tooth. Implants are made from titanium which is bio-compatible and means that the body doesn’t normally reject it. Consequently, the surrounding bone grows over the implant to make it a permanent fixture in the mouth, just like a natural tooth root. This process is known as osseointegration and is key to the success of a dental implant. It can take between 4 and 6 months to happen but sometimes it may take longer or not happen at all. Factors that can slow down or prevent osseointegration are smoking and certain medical conditions.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke constrict the blood vessels reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to the soft tissues of the mouth and can affect the immune system. This slows the healing process and can impact the long term health of gums and bone. This means that osseointegration may not occur properly and makes it more likely that your implants may fail over time. Medical conditions such as diabetes can also impact healing.
Experience and expertise also play a key role in the dental implants success rate so it pays to be picky when choosing your dental implant dentist. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist about their level of dental implant education, after all a dentist who has only attended a weekend dental implant course will not have the same level of knowledge as a dentist that has spent several years studying implantology. Be sure to ask them how many implants they have placed and, more importantly, how frequently they place them
Last but not least, commitment is crucial to dental implant success. While a good implant dentist will set the foundations for success, ultimately it’s you who has to shoulder the responsibility of caring for your dental implant/s.
Luckily, caring for a dental implant is no more difficult than caring for your natural teeth. Thorough brushing and flossing every day combined with dental check-ups and cleans at regular intervals is all it takes to keep your implants healthy,
At our practice, patients can have the entire implant and placement of the crown (restoration) carried out in one place which typically makes our dental implants a more affordable option.
Why not come and talk to Dr Akinwande about dental implants and whether they are right for you. She will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have to put your mind at ease. Schedule a FREE implant consultation today. Call on (314) 469 6429 or book online with Chesterfield Dentistry. Your smile is in safe hands.