28 Jul 2023
4 min read
By Dr. Azim Malik
Specialist Periodontist and Implant Surgeon
The common question I get asked about implants is how long will the implant last?
And the answer is it will last as long as you look after it.
The important thing to say is that many people think their implants are forever and they're not.
Implants have more problems than teeth because it's a screw – it's a foreign body in your mouth.
If it gets infected then it's just a lot more difficult to treat than a natural tooth.
It's a also a much more invasive treatment than treatment for a natural tooth.
A natural tooth is smooth while an implant is a screw.
We know everything about teeth but, comparatively speaking, we don't know much about implants.
I also tell my patients with gum disease you are more at risk of implant complications then someone who is fit and well and doesn't have gum disease.
Those with gum disease are more likely to have implant complications or have gum disease around implants.
I work in an implant practice where I see patients who had implants done in the 1990s – very early on when implants were first made.
The one thing I notice is those that have complications are the ones who thought they did not need to come to see the dentist.
So they have the implant done and they then don't come back for a year or two years.
And then when they come back, there may be a problem.
So one thing I would recommend to implant patients is to stick to the usual patient recall protocol – six months or three months for patients with gum disease.
Because with implants, and with teeth to an extent, if there's a problem you don't necessarily feel pain.
With implants, there's no nerve there so you can't feel pain and you won't know it's failing.
With implant treatment, there is the actual titanium implant placed underneath the gum that acts as a root.
This supports a brand new tooth – a dental crown engineered to blend in with the patient's existing smile.
Patients often don't know these are two separate things until you let them know.
They are more concerned about the implant than anything else.
But you've got to tell them, "look, implant complication is one thing but the crown can also have a lot of complications".
Patients chip and break crowns.
I tell patients that, in a 10-year period, you will need to have the crown replaced maybe once.
Like any crown, the new "tooth" can blend in well.
Contact us now to make an appointment or to find out more.
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