Dental implant restoration is subtly different from just dental implants. The dental implant is the part that is encased in bone. It's a titanium screw that goes into the bone and the bone fuses to it, becoming part of the bone. This is what holds your restoration. After it has healed, which takes a minimum of three and a half to four months, an abutment is attached to the implant. Then, a crown is attached to the abutment. Another style involves an abutment crown already fused together outside the mouth that's just screwed directly into the implant.
Implant restoration in our office entails making sure that the implant base, the screw, has healed, and then putting in the abutment, which is painless. We unscrew a healing cap that's on top of the implant, then scan the abutment. Sometimes there's a bit of preparatory work that goes into making the abutment fit the patient, so there can be some drilling. We prep and then screw it in once we have it shaped the way it needs to be. Then, we scan that and make a crown to fit over the abutment.
They should always stay white. If your implants have changed color, it may be due to some recession or gum disease or bone disease around the implant, causing the gums to recede away and show the edge of the actual screw, which is silver or gray. If this is the case, you might have a bigger problem as it may mean that your implant is failing and may need to be either repaired or replaced.
Absolutely, yes. We typically do ours with cement-retained implants. However, once you drill through the top of the crown that's cemented on top of the abutment, it becomes a screw-retained implant. So, it's really a matter of technicalities, but most single-tooth implants are actually screw-retained implants.
There's no expiration date on dental implants. If you take good care of them, they can last a lifetime - 40, 50, 60, 70 years potentially. But just like teeth, you still have to brush and take good care of your implant, as they are susceptible to gum disease and bone disease for the screw portion that is encased in bone.
There's no set number of how many times a dental implant can be replaced. A dental implant is not susceptible to cavities, only gum disease. When you get gum disease around an implant, it has to be removed. You then regraft or replace the implant depending on the amount of bone you have in the area.
Dental implant failure is not very common. The success rates for about a 15 to 20 year success rate for dental implants is about 94% industry-wide, which is quite good compared to other dental procedures. It's as good, if not better, than the success rate and longevity of most of your crowns, root canals, and fillings.
Most implant failures are usually due to poor hygiene, leading to gum disease and bone disease around the edge of the dental implant. This can cause the implant to become loose or the infection to cause enough pain that it needs to be removed. The second most common cause would be poor workmanship, which can occur if an implant is not done well by a skilled professional.
Sometimes, yes. It's not guaranteed, but there are procedures that we can do to halt infection and resuscitate an implant. However, it can be tricky and it's not always an option. It depends on how much disease, bone loss, and gum disease is already present.
The best way to prevent a dental implant from failing is to clean it just as well as you clean your teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is your best bet.
Implant restoration takes about the same amount of time as a crown restoration in our office. A crown, you drill down, shave down the sides and the top of the tooth, and make room for a shell or a crown to go over top of that. We do the same thing with an implant, you put in the abutment that screws into the implant body that's in the bone, the patient's bone, and then you prep that a little bit, scan that, and create a crown to be cemented over top of that, the same way that it's cemented over the stump of a tooth that you're doing in a regular crown procedure, so usually about two hours in our office.
Your implant is not ready to restore after the surgical appointment, where you put the screw into the bone. It's not ready to be restored any sooner than three and a half months. That would be about the soonest, unless there are some special new implants coming out that they claim can cut the healing time in half, so maybe a month and a half to two months you could potentially restore, but those are very expensive and they're not very commonly used yet, so the typical soonest you can restore an implant is about three and a half months after it's been placed.
If you're interested in dental implants, we'd love to talk with you more about that. At Integrity Dental, we offer a free consultation or we can provide information over the phone on how the process works. Call us at 719-545-2468.