If you have lost one or more teeth, dental implants are almost like getting those teeth back. They look like natural teeth, function like natural teeth, and they can be cared for just like your natural teeth: brush, floss, and make your regular dentist visits. And just like natural teeth, when properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Most people can get dental implants, and they have a very high success rate, especially when placed by a specialist like a periodontist.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial roots that are placed in your jaw. They can be made of titanium, titanium-zirconium alloy (TiZr), or solid zirconia. Titanium isn’t just biocompatible, it’s a metal that your bone can grow around and bond to in a process called osseointegration. These implants literally become a part of you. TiZr implants provide a different metal option that may be more biocompatible. Some people are more comfortable with the metal-free option of solid zirconia dental implants, which offers many benefits over titanium or TiZr implants.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are the tooth replacement that is most like your natural teeth. Dental implants offer many benefits, including
- Look like natural teeth
- Anchored in the bone similar to natural teeth
- Can be linked to Permalock dentures for secure replacement of all natural teeth
- Eat all your favorite foods
- No special care required
- Support themselves—no modification of neighboring teeth
- Stimulate jawbone and gums
- Can last a lifetime
Because dental implants are attached to you and have gum tissue growing up around them like your natural teeth, they will fit in with all your other teeth. With a cosmetic dental crown that matches the enamel of your natural teeth. This means that you can enjoy all your favorite foods. No need to give up steak or crusty bread because your dentures just can’t cut it—literally!
And speaking of dentures, when you need to replace a full arch of teeth, we offer Permalock dentures, which attach securely to your dental implants. This keeps them in place and allows you to chew with maximal force, even with dentures.
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. We'll teach you how to brush and floss your implants. We will also decide whether you need more frequent 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.
And not only do dental implants support themselves, they help support your jawbone and gums. Dentures cause your jaw to shrink, but implants sustain necessary bone.
Benefits of Metal-Free Dental Implants
Although most people get excellent results with titanium dental implants, many people do better with metal-free zirconia dental implants. A small number of people (perhaps 0.6%) experience titanium allergies, which could lead to adverse effects--including failure of the dental implant. Other people are simply uncomfortable with the presence of metal in their bodies and prefer a metal-free dental implant option.
We are happy to offer metal-free dental implants because of the benefits they offer our patients, including:
- Strength equal to or greater than titanium
- Success rates comparable to titanium
- Appearance more similar to natural tooth root
- Better osseointegration
- 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 at least as good an option for most people, and a better option for many people.
Can Dental Implants Really Last a Lifetime?
Yes, they can! Just a couple of examples show how long-lasting they can be: the first dental implant patient had his four implants for four decades before the 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 long-term studies, about 20 years. 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 dental implants begin to fail at a significant rate again, what 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 for placing your implants. Studies have shown that implants placed by specialists have a higher success rate than those placed by general dentists, especially inexperienced ones.
If you want to learn more about dental implants and whether they’re right for you, please call (585) 244-3337 or email us for an appointment with a Rochester implant dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.