In the last 30 years, dental implants have become the standard treatment of care for tooth replacement. Properly integrated implant-based restorations have a life span of up to 20 years or more, compared to a standard bridge, which has an average life span of 10 years.
What are Implants Made of?
Implants used in replacement of teeth are made of titanium. Titanium is a very durable metal that is easily accepted by the body. There have been no known cases of implant-restoration failure due to a patient allergy or adverse reaction to the titanium.
Titanium is not only strong, it also creates a strong bond with the surrounding/existing bone so that it is virtually inseparable from the bone. The process by which the implants "adhere" to the bone is "osseo-integration."
Implants have two parts: the root analog and the abutment. The root analog is the part of the implant that will "osseo-integrate" and provide inter-bony support for the crown or bridge. The root analog will stay below the surface of the gum. The abutment portion screws into the root analog and will protrude through the surface of the gum. When your dental professional feels it's time to "attach" the crown or bridge to the implant, these will screw into the abutment.
The implant root analogs come in a variety of widths and lengths. Molars are often replaced with two narrow or one wide-bodied implant. Other teeth may be replaced with a standard-width implant. Narrow implants may be opted for if there is limited space between two teeth.
Mini-implants are also available in places where there is minimal bone, but they can only be used in special circumstances. For instance, they would not likely be chosen to support a bridge because they would not be able to withstand the bite pressure exerted on the bridge.
How Long Does Implant Treatment Take?
It depends on the individual patient. Some patients have ideal bone and gum (soft tissue) structure to support an implant-based prosthesis.