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18 March 2014

Can Implants Last My Whole Life And What Can Go Wrong?

Dental implants are increasingly popular today because of its practicality. It might cost more than a common denture (which just sits on top of the gums) but it lasts longer. When the implant is secured to the bone properly it should last for a long time, much like natural teeth with the same condition – you need to take care of it. Like any other implants surgically placed in the body, there are no lifetime guarantees.

Can implants last for life?

The answer to that is yes. Dental implants are made from materials that are expected to last for a very long time but dental care is the key. Good oral hygiene habits are very important. Brushing and flossing is an integral part of maintaining the implant just like how you would care for your natural teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly is also part of implant aftercare. Your dentist needs to check on the condition of the implant because infection and other problems, though easy to mitigate, can become a big problem and may compromise the viability of the implant when left unattended.

It is also important to mention that smoking can affect the integration of the implant to the bone where it is anchored. It is best to stop smoking or regulate it as much as you can when your implant is placed. This can have a direct impact on the completion of the implant procedure.

Digging deeper into bone integration

Dental implants are surgically placed inside the mouth. A titanium screw is attached to the jaw bone much like a natural tooth and this implant is left to “integrate” to the bone and have that bond that will support the pressure of chewing and other related tooth function. There are cases that the implant does not integrate properly to the bone making it loose and unable to support the crown. This is one of the first things that can go wrong. However this is easy to correct. The implant can be removed and the bone left to recover. Your dentist can then find a way to get the implant attached the second time considering the bone density, infection, surgical trauma, and placement issues that likely caused the failure of integration on the first try.

Risks and problems

Like any surgery, placing dental implants can have some problems and complications. Although these are very rare, it is important that you know about all of these. Surgery to place dental implants can cause nerve damage and can also affect the normal functions of the sinuses depending on where the implant is placed. There is also the risk of bleeding. But these are very rare. 95% of all dental implant surgeries go without any problem and these “problems”, when they do occur, are easy to treat.

Infection can also be a common problem for very good reasons. Placing an implant in your mouth involves cutting through tissue and this exposes the body to bacteria. And much like natural teeth, overtime your implant may succumb to gum infection and this too can cause problems. Early detection of these problems is very important. Your dentist would know what to do and thanks to modern medicine, infection can be addressed fast and easy.

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