If you’re considering having dental implants, it’s likely that you already know they have a high success rate. However, this is not all down to chance, and several key factors ensure the procedure rarely fails. So, how do dental implants work? The answer is with a combination of technology, expertise and commitment from both patients and dentists.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant replaces a badly damaged or missing tooth. It consists of three parts—the implant itself, which gets placed into the jawbone, the crown (false tooth) and an abutment that joins the two parts together.
Dental implant surgery is typically a two-stage process. During the first part of the procedure, your dentist will place the implant into the jawbone, where it fuses with the bone. This is called osseointegration, and after several months it is stable and secure enough to act as an artificial tooth root. Then, the second part of the procedure can take place when the abutment and crown are attached to complete the dental implant treatment.
As well as replacing individual teeth, dental implant surgery can replace a row of adjacent teeth with an implant-supported bridge or even all the teeth in an arch with an implant-supported denture.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implants are not suitable for everyone. Things can go wrong if a dentist does not perform the procedure with the requisite expertise. Some of the factors that can affect the efficacy of dental implant surgery and the longevity of dental implants include:
Your oral health
A dental implant can only be placed in healthy, dense bone. If you have experienced bone loss then you may not have sufficient viable bone available to support the implant.
How do dental implants work with a compromised jawbone? They don’t.
But this doesn’t mean that you cannot have dental implant surgery. It just means you may first need to undergo a bone graft procedure to increase the amount of bone in your jaw if you want the dental implant procedure to work for you.
Your commitment to taking care of your implants
Dental implants are a lifetime commitment. Although they do not require any special care, they still need a thorough daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice daily and flossing. Implants can be affected by peri-implantitis—an inflammatory disease that affects dental implants in the same way as gum disease affects the teeth. Peri-implantitis can affect the gums and jawbone and may cause the implant to fail.
You also need to visit your dentist as regularly as they have indicated for check-ups and preventative treatments. Scaling and polishing will help keep dental implants healthy and in great shape.
We all know that smoking is bad for us, but it can prove doubly so for dental implants. Gum disease is greater in smokers than non-smokers, and peri-implantitis is likely a problem exacerbated by smoking.
Additionally, immediately after dental implant surgery, smoking could be detrimental to the procedure’s success as it diminishes blood flow which delivers essential nutrients and oxygen around the body. These are particularly important in wound healing and can cause problems for osseointegration that may lead to failure of the implant.
Nothing makes more difference to the success of your dental implant surgery than the skill of your dentist. Be sure you are comfortable with your dentist’s level of expertise. Check that they are accredited with professional organisations, such as the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry, as our implant dentist is.
How do dental implants work – The bottom line
With the right dentist and your commitment to looking after your oral health, a dental implant can work for you throughout your lifetime. Get in touch to find out more and schedule a FREE dental implant consultation with us or call us on (02) 9100 0188 today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.