How long will implants last?
Implantation is a new procedure and data has not been gathered. Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist, with proper home care, regular check-ups and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.
Who can be a candidate?
Theoretically anybody can be a candidate. Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. Health is more of a determining factor than age. The main limitation is the amount of available bone. Your dentist is the best person to evaluate whether dental implants are a viable solution for you.
What benefits and drawbacks do implants have?
When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implants can slow or stop this process. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth.
Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort. Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone. Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.
The necessity of a surgical intervention can be a drawback, alike the long healing period, during which implants have to heal. Those who chooes implants instead of bridges or dentures, have to count with more costs in most cases.
Is the implantation painful? What should I expect after the operation?
Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Anesthesia and patient sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. Depending upon the number of implants placed, there may be swelling and/or tenderness for a few days following the surgery. It is also normal to have some small bruises in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller.
How long is the healing period and can I wear replacement teeth meanwhile?
The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been put in. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the artificial teeth to be attached much sooner than this.
If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then these can be worn throughout the healing period once they have been modified after the surgery.
Does smoking harm impants?
It is known today, that heavy smokers (smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day) have more risks to lose their implants, than non-smoker. The risk increases amongst smokers even more if a bone graft exceeded the implantion.
Is there any difference in quality among implants?
There are numerous companies in the market producing implants, but only a few implant systems can show scientific studies. The imlant systems used by our dentists' surgery are documented by the firms Straumann and 3i. Besides the leading companies provide for implant parts for a long time, which is important if a small part must be changed urgent.
How do I have to clean my implants?
Long-term success of implants depends on how well they are maintained. Regular dental visits are essential. Periodontal disease can strike when teeth and gums are not properly cleaned. If left untreated bone loss, which weakens supporting structures, can lead to loss of dental implants as well as tooth loss.
Daily brushing and flossing are absolutely necessary for long-term success. There are also many supplemental products that allow you to clean the implants properly.
Your dentist may recommend a cordless electric toothbrush. Whether you use a standard brush or electric toothbrush, your dentist and hygienist will review your brushing techniques to ensure that you are cleaning the area properly.
Research has shown that oral irrigation is effective in reducing plaque accumulation around dental implants and natural teeth. Your dentist may also suggest that you use a special mouth rinse.
Good home care includes daily flossing. Floss threaders are very helpful in allowing you to reach around implants, under bridges and bars so these areas can be easily cleaned.
Interproximal brushes are small dental brushes, also called "Proxy Brushes", are specifically designed to clean between the teeth and implants. While not a replacement for dental floss they are helpful in cleaning hard to reach areas.
It is typically recommended that patients visit their dentist for professional cleanings every 3-6 months.