How Long Will my Dental Implants Work?
1) Implant – is a titanium or zirconia post that is surgically placed in the jawbone of a patient and acts as a replacement tooth root for crowns, bridges or dentures.
2) Abutment – The Abutment is the connector between the Tooth Implant and the crown.
3) Crown – is a ceramic / zirconia tooth which is attached to the Abutment.
What Causes Implant Failure?
Lifestyle, Health and Dental Hygiene
Now that you’re clear on what a Dental Implant consists of, let’s go over the factors that may cause them to fail. These factors are largely dependent on the lifestyle of the patient and their overall dental hygiene. With dental problems in general, it is most often improper home care or lack of treatment when needed that causes them. The same applies to Dental Implants. When Implants are properly maintained (brushing, flossing, semi-annual check-ups), a Dental Implant should last a lifetime.
With the advancement of technology, Dental Implants have become so advanced that it almost unheard of anymore for a Dental Implant to fail due to functionality issues or rejection. It is most often the overall health and lifestyle of a patient that is responsible for teeth implant failure. In addition to proper oral hygiene as we discussed above, nutrition, genetics, and disease are also factors that influence the success of an implant.
Less than perfect Implant Healing or Osseointegration:
After Dental Implant Healing of 8 – 12 weeks, the dentist tests the implant by putting pressure on it and possibly taking an X-ray. If everything seems stable, the dentists makes a crown, bridge or uses the implant for it’s intended use. 99% of the time things are perfect and the implant can last a lifetime. In rare cases pockets of bone around the implant may not have attached properly to the dental implant. In these pockets, most often there is granular or scar like tissue instead of bone attachment around the implant. In these pockets bacteria can hide and slowly over time the implant can get infected and fail. Unfortunately, without surgically inspecting an implant after healing, it can be very difficult if not impossible to determine if an implant healed ideally. I am not suggesting, a implant dds should do surgery to confirm healing. That would be like opening up the walls in your house to be sure the wires and pipes are working properly without any symptom of cause. This is why it is important to maintain implants like teeth and periodically take x-rays to check the health of dental implants.
Peri-Implantitis and Corrosion of Titanium Dental Implants. Do Dental Implants Corrode or Rust?
There has been some research to suggest in fact Titanium Implants can corrode. The human body is a water based system and metal in water has the medical community and dental people concerned about metal corrosion. We are familiar with metal corrosion because we all know iron and many other metals exposed to rain and moisture produces rust. Some metals can rapidly decompose and become structurally weak. Rust as we know it will never happen around titanium dental implants causing them to be weak and break. What may happen is small amounts of corrosion will release metal ions and other matter into a biological system causing inflammation, peri implantitis and ultimately implant failure. This are of implant concern needs to be explored further to determine the extent of concern in the area of dental implants and for that matter any other use of titanium used in the body such as joint replacement or biological fixation screws and plates. Metal Free Dental Implants made of Zirconia and Ceramic are now available. Zirconia Implants do a nice job of replacing single teeth, and small bridges, but non-metal solutions are not completely ready to replace titanium.
Think you need a Dental Implant? We offer complementary consultations and x-rays for implants in our Rockville Dental Implant Center. Click here to schedule your appointment or call us at (301)770-0407. If you are concerned about the cost, we’ve got that covered, too- we offer financing through care credit.