At Infinity Dental Care, we believe in transparency. So if you are looking to replace a tooth gap with an implant-based restoration but are hesitant because you don’t know enough about them, here’s the truth about dental implants.
Firstly, what is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium (a biocompatible metal) placed into the jawbone beneath the gum line. The biocompatibility of titanium means that the implants fuse with the bone in a process known as osseointegration. This process is vital because it provides a stable platform for placing a dental crown, bridge, or denture.
The Truth About Dental Implants – In a Nutshell
- There is a rigorous planning process to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for dental implants.
- The planning process ensures that dental implants have a success rate of 95-98%;
- Implants have a long lifespan of 15-20 years, although there is no reason why they cannot last a lifetime with good care.
- Dental implants can improve oral health and help bone loss in the jawbone and prevent facial sagging.
- The dental implant process is not a quick-fix solution. Typically, it takes 3-5 months to complete the procedure, but it can take significantly longer for some people – e.g., those who have had to undergo extra processes such as a bone graft in the jaw or a sinus lift.
That said, the truth about dental implants is that there are also many positives to the treatment. It remains a popular procedure because implants integrate fully with your jawbone. So they become part of your mouth while looking, feeling, and acting just like your natural teeth. With proper care, a dental implant can also outlast more conventional forms of tooth replacement by many years, So in the long-term, it’s a financially sound investment in your oral health.
However, dental implant surgery is not suitable for everyone. Let’s look at some of the scenarios that may be a problem if you want implants. Just remember that you should take advantage of a free dental consultation near you to have an expert check your suitability.
Chronic Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions could be a problem if you want a dental implant. But every case is assessed on its own merits. So, just because you have a long-term medical condition that could affect dental implant placement, it may not preclude you from surgery.
Dental implants may not be as successful or may not heal as well if your blood sugar levels are not controlled. Therefore the dentist may ask you to get your diabetes under better control before having implant surgery. People with diabetes are also more likely to get gum disease because diabetes can affect saliva production.
A dental implant is unlikely to fuse with your jawbone if you have weak bones or osteoporosis. In this case, your dentist may suggest a bone graft before any dental implant procedure.
Dental implants require a surgical procedure, typically under anaesthetic. However, like any surgery, those patients with heart conditions should consult their GP before considering the procedure.
In rare cases, a dental implant may not be accepted by your body. If your body rejects the implant, it may lead to infection and implant failure.
The truth about dental implants and smoking
Smoking affects blood flow to the gums, which is essential for healthy gum tissue, bone growth, and oral health in general. Nutrients and infection-fighting cells are transported around the body in the blood, so it’s essential that your body gets the right nutrition after implant surgery to aid a speedy recovery.
Furthermore, good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is crucial for dental implant success. If you smoke, it’s much harder to keep implants healthy due to increased plaque build-up and gum disease that many smokers suffer with.
Additionally, smoking can also cause peri-implantitis, a gum infection that affects the bone and gums around a dental implant and can lead to its failure.
Finally, smoking dries out your mouth—and a dry mouth can lead to a build-up of bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay.
It is essential to have good oral health to be considered for a dental implant. There needs to be sufficient bone to promote implant stability. While this isn’t a deal-breaker, patients with minimal or unhealthy bone will need to undergo bone grafting before they move ahead with the dental implant process.
Ultimately, this will set you back in terms of time and extra cost.
One final truth about dental implants is that they have no upper age limit. So whether you’re seventy, eight, or ninety, you may still be eligible, provided you don’t have any underlying conditions. However, there is a lower age limit, and that is 18. So why is this?
Simply because an adolescent’s jawbone is still developing, and implant placement needs a stable environment.
The Bottom Line
Dental implants are pretty successful, but this is because dentists are careful only to place them in suitable patients. If you want them but are not a good candidate, your dentist can suggest other more appropriate options. Conversely, even if you appear not to be a suitable candidate on the surface, this does not mean that dental implant surgery is not an option. For this reason, it’s always best to see a dentist that offers a free consultation.
The truth about dental implants is that with the advances in technology and expertise, you can get up-to-date information about this procedure when you get a free consultation at your local dental clinic and schedule an appointment with us or call us on (02) 9159 6237 today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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