Implants have been around for many years and are a predictable method to replace missing teeth. They offer a way to have artificial teeth that look natural and feel secure. The implant itself is a titanium screw that is embedded into the jaw bone. Due to the biocompatible nature of titanium, bone heals very tightly against the implant making the implant fixed to your jaw. An implant replaces the root of the tooth to support a false tooth (crown).The dental surgeon, usually a Periodontist (gum specialist) or an Oral Surgeon, places the implant into a hole made in the jawbone during surgery. A post (abutment) can then be secured onto the top of the implant to secure the crown.
It is important that you understand that implant restorations consist of two parts, the titanium implant (screw) and the crown (false tooth) that is placed on top of the implant. Research has demonstrated that dental implants may remain integrated with bone in excess of 25 years and many implants will remain integrated for life. The limiting factor for the survival of implant restorations is usually the implant crown. Maintenance issues that may occur with the implant crown include fracture of porcelain or the framework, screw loosening, screw fracture and loss of the filling within the screw access hole.
Usually problems involving the implant crown can be repaired or replaced relatively easily, provided the implant remains integrated in bone. It is difficult to give you an accurate estimate of exactly how long the crown will last, as this is dependant on many factors within and beyond our control. However what we do know is that most early complications with materials tend to occur within the first year of service. Provided the implant crown is maintained in a meticulous manner with routine checks, you should get many years of satisfactory service.