For individuals who wish to replace missing teeth, dental implants may be an effective long-term solution. Implants provide greater structural support and last longer than either bridges or dentures. Implants serve as the artificial root to which new teeth are bonded. They are typically constructed of titanium, a strong and safe material that effectively attaches to bone.
The procedure to insert dental implants typically involves three stages: the implant insertion; osseointegration (the period of healing for the jawbone) and the attachment of the restoration, or the new tooth.
As with any cosmetic surgery, patients should always practise proper dental hygiene. This is especially true once a dental implant has been put into place. If teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, bacteria can attack sensitive areas, causing the gums to swell and the jawbone to recede gradually. Enough recession of the jawbone can weaken dental implants and eventually necessitate their removal.
Following an implant operation, smoking should be avoided, as it impairs the gum and jawbone’s ability to heal.
Given the proper care, dental implants should last 25 years or longer.