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Lifetime Dental Implants: Your question answered

Mini implants | Dental Implants | Denture Implants | Implant-retained dentures | All On 4 | All On 6 | Implant bridge | Same Day Teeth | Same Day Teeth Implants | Bone Grafting | Sinus Elevation | Sinus Lifts

Do implants last a life time?

Mini implants | Dental Implants | Denture Implants | Implant-retained dentures | All On 4 | All On 6 | Implant bridge | Same Day Teeth | Same Day Teeth Implants | Bone Grafting | Sinus Elevation | Sinus Lifts
Do implants last a lifetime?
As with all forms of medical and dental treatments, there are always benefits and risks associated. In implant dentistry, there are usually two things to consider:
The survival rate of the implant
This means that the implant is still embedded into jaw bone. For example, the implant crown and components may have wear and tear and the gum and jaw bone may have receded around the implant, but nonetheless the implant is still in the patient’s mouth. The survival rate of implants depends on the time the implant has been in the mouth and the patient’s risks factors. Some risk factors can be controlled; others cannot.
The success rate of the implant
This means either the implant is in the patient’s mouth after a certain period of time, or it has been lost due to complete failure.
Examples of risks factor include:
  • Poor oral hygiene. This is a major risk factor. After we place your implant we will demonstrate an effective cleaning method which you must follow if you would like to minimise the risk of any implant infection. We strongly advise having a check-up and hygienic clean with our dentist/hygienist on a three-monthly basis so that we can see how well you are keeping your implants clean. This also gives us a chance to detect any potential problems early on.
  • Cigarettes have so many bad chemicals in them and smoking is a major risk factor for periodontal disease tooth loss (“gum disease”). We always suggest our patients to cut down/eradiate their smoking habit, especially before implant treatment or any other form of dental surgery. We appreciate that chronic smokers cannot quit smoking overnight. We suggest that you seek the attention of your doctor or pharmacist for any smoking cessation advice/treatment.
  • Previous history of periodontal disease tooth loss (“gum disease”). How the patient lost their teeth is of significance. If a patient has lost their natural teeth much earlier in life due to gum disease (i.e. the teeth became loose) then having implant treatment doesn’t automatically make that patient immune from the disease. They are still at risk, hence more the reason to look after their implant teeth.
  • General health. Patients with a compromised immune system, e.g. diabetics, have an increased risk factor for jaw bone loss around teeth and implants. It is important that you see your doctor for advice and control of your immune system.
  • The status of your remaining teeth. You have to bear in mind that when you lose even a single tooth from your mouth then more pressure is put on the remaining teeth to function at the same level. Your mouth has a tendency to adjust, but if you have lost teeth from your favourite chewing side then you will find chewing difficult.
  • The pressure of the bite. Teeth and implants are surrounded by jaw bone. Implants like to be stimulated with gentle chewing forces to keep the jaw bone stable around the implants. But if you place too much pressure on the implants then it can result in excessive jaw bone loss or even complete failure. For this reason it is important to get the rest of your teeth checked and to have routine dental procedures to ensure that you minimise the risk of tooth loss.
  • The quality of the implant system used
So back to the original question: “Do implants last a lifetime?” We will provide the treatment with the best will in the world, but no implant surgeon can ever guarantee a 100% success rate for their treatment. Even the best and most experience implant dentists have failures and issues with their implants. You have to bear in mind that your mouth is like a piece of machinery. If you look after it, it will serve you well and you will maximise the success and survival rates. It is a bit like comparing a Rolls Royce to teeth. A Rolls Royce is comparatively expensive to purchase, but if the owner does not look after it then it will eventually breakdown. A Rolls Royce owner will still have to take it to the garage regularly to have it repaired and serviced.
We like to give our patients the reassurance of a guarantee in that we will fix the problem providing certain criteria are followed. The guarantee is dependent on the type of implant system our patient chooses to have, based on our clinical recommendation.
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