What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in your jawbone. They can be made of titanium, titanium-zirconium alloy (TiZr), or solid zirconia. Titanium is biocompatible, which means it’s not harmful to the living tissue in your mouth. It’s a metal that your bone can grow around and bond to in a process called osseointegration. Here at Contemporary Dentistry, we are proud to offer a metal-free dental implant option if patients prefer it.
After your implants are placed, we will put a cosmetic restoration on top of that artificial root, such as a single dental crown, partial dentures, or even full dentures.
Benefits of Implant Dentistry
Dental implants are the tooth replacement that is most like your natural teeth with many benefits, including
- Look like natural teeth
- Anchored in the bone, similar to natural teeth
- Eat all your favorite foods
- No special care required
- Support themselves—no modification of neighboring teeth (like needed with a dental bridge)
- Stimulate jawbone and gums
- Can last a lifetime
Dental implants are attached to you and have gum tissue growing up around them like your natural teeth, so they will fit into your smile perfectly with a dental crown that matches the enamel of your natural teeth. This means no one will know you have dental implants. You can also enjoy all your favorite foods! No need to give up steak or crusty bread because your dentures just can’t cut it—literally!
Because dental implants are in your gums and bone just like natural teeth, you don’t have to care for them in any special way. You can just brush your teeth, floss around them, and make your regular checkups. Our implant dentists and dental treatment team can teach you how to brush and floss your implants and let you know how often to return for checkups.
Dental implants support themselves, so unlike dentures and dental bridges, there’s no damage to your neighboring teeth. Dental bridges are supported by dental crowns on the neighboring teeth. Partial dentures often have hooks and clasps that can wear away enamel.
Although most people get excellent results with titanium, some people choose metal-free zirconia. A small number of people (perhaps 0.6%) experience titanium allergies, which could lead to adverse effects–including dental implant failure. Other people are simply uncomfortable with the presence of metal in their bodies and prefer a metal-free implant dentistry option.
We are happy to offer metal-free implant dentistry, because of the benefits they offer our patients, including:
- High success rates
- An appearance similar to a natural tooth root
- Similar bone-to-implant osseointegration as a titanium implant
- Improved compatibility with gum tissue
- No risk of corrosion or the creation of galvanic circuits
- Safety for people with metal allergies
These benefits make metal-free dental implants a great option for many people, but make sure to talk with one of our implant dentists about which material is best for you.
Can Dental Implants Really Last a Lifetime?
Yes, they can! Here are a couple of examples that show how long-lasting they can be:
- The first dental implant patient had his four implants for four decades before he passed away.
- The second dental implant patient has had his implants for 48 years and counting!
But that’s just a couple of examples. Let’s consider some 20-year, long-term studies. These studies show that between 90 and 95% of dental implants are still in place at the end of the follow-up, an average of 15-17 years after placement.
In fact, in terms of defining the “lifetime” of dental implants, we just haven’t reached that point yet. Over half of dental implant failures occur in the first year, during what is described as the “wearing in” period. Then relatively few fail after that, and no studies have been long enough to show the point at which they begin to fail at a significant rate, which would be considered the end of their lifetime.
We can’t guarantee how long your implants will last, but we can say that dental implants can last a lifetime. And we give your implants the best chance of success by using a specialist to place them.