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A Cosmetic Dentist Answers: Are Dental Implants Permanent?
Most people who want a durable and sturdy dental restoration often opt for dental implants provided by the cosmetic dentist. However, the one question many persons have on their minds is whether these implants are permanent. Obviously, every patient’s condition is different, but dental implants are the most reliable and permanent solution for lost teeth. With proper maintenance, they continue to function optimally after years of use. They are definitely a long-term solution, but patients may still wonder if they can last forever.
The success rate of dental implants
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, dental implants have an average success rate of 95%, depending on the location of the lost teeth and the patient’s oral hygiene and lifestyle. Many of the individuals who first received implants are still using them.
Compared to alternatives, such as regular dentures and fixed bridges, dental implants offer the closest approximation to a natural tooth as possible. With technological advancements, new materials and innovative techniques, more patients can now rely on implants as their preferred method of dental restoration.
It is still possible for implants to fail
Despite the high success rate of dental implants, failure may occur in certain patients. In fact, approximately 5% of all restoration cases do not ultimately succeed for the patient.
Short-term dental implant failure often occurs when there is a problem with the osseointegration process, which is the bone’s ability to heal and fuse with the titanium implant. Factors such as inadequate bone density, untreated diabetes and smoking often contribute to this issue. Signs of early implant failure include bleeding, pain and implant loosening.
Long-term implant failure happens after the implant has fused with the jawbone and healing is complete. The most common cause is known as peri-implantitis, which is a chronic infection of the gum and ultimately, the jawbone. The symptoms include pus, pain and bleeding. Minor prosthetic problems such as a loose abutment or broken screws may also contribute to this type of implant failure.
Treatment for short-term failure usually entails adjusting the surgery site through bone grafting. After the bone heals, the cosmetic dentist will attempt the procedure again. In the case of peri-implantitis, treatment depends on the cause and severity of the condition. The dentist will advise the patient to improve oral hygiene practices and visit the office more frequently for a dental cleaning. The patient may also get antibiotics or undergo surgery to restore the bone. Although correcting implant failures can be inconvenient, it is possible.
The end result for dental implants
Dental implants are created to last for many years — at least 25 years — and function as a long-term or permanent tooth restoration. Alternatives to dental implants usually last between 5–15 years before requiring replacement. Patients who are considering implants always need to consult with the cosmetic dentist to determine if they are good candidates for the procedure. The proficiency of the actual implant process also affects the durability of the restoration. Poorly placed implants are prone to premature failure.
If you already have dental implants, you need to visit the dentist periodically for cleaning and a complete checkup. With proper placement and maintenance, dental implants can survive a lifetime of use.
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