What are dental implants?
A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth after extraction. Usually the permanent false teeth are fitted 4 to 5 months after the implants are put in.
Implants are a safe, well-established, tried-and-tested treatment.
Placing an implant is often easier than taking a tooth out and is usually done using a simple local anesthetic.
How well you look after your implants - and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments - will have the biggest impact on how long they will last.
If you don't look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to that found on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth.
If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.
Implant treatment depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. If there is not enough, or if it isn't healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.
Aftercare is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. If you keep them clean and have them regularly checked by your dentist you should not have any problems. Smoking also affects the health of natural teeth and implants. So, if you smoke, you may need to look after your implants more carefully.