One of the most important benefits of dental implants are their longevity. Yes, a dental implant that is performed by a skilled dentist into adequate jawbone can be expected to last for a quarter of a century or more if it is periodically seen and adjusted by a dentist. For many people dental implants do last a lifetime. Compared to dental bridges, which typically need to be replaced every seven years or so, implants can be more cost-effective over the course of a lifetime.
There are a number of factors that can assure that your dental implants last for many years.
Not every dentist has a high level of experience with successful dental implants. For example, in the US and Canada, dental implants are so expensive that not many dental patients can afford them. This means that dentists who serve middle-class communities may not have a great deal of experience. With a low demand, perhaps dentists haven’t kept up with the latest technical and dental trends regarding implants. Some people think it is ironic that dentists in other parts of the world would have more experience with dental implants, but it’s true. Many leading dentists in Guatemala have many years of experience placing dental implants for international patients and take great pride in their high level of experience with successful implants.
Quality of Materials
There are various levels of quality for dental materials and they are improving all the time. Titanium implants are the quality standard for dentistry. Sometimes the surface of the metal implant is treated to encourage osseointegration (where the bone of the jaw fuses with the implant). The quality of the implant is the most essential part.
Patients have a number of quality options for the crown (or crowns) that will complete the restoration of a tooth. The better quality materials will contribute to longevity. Crown materials include porcelain, zirconia, and other composite materials. Dr. Rodrigo Guerra with Guatemala Dental Team recommends that patients discuss the available dental materials in great detail with their dentist.
“Patients traveling all the way from the USA to Guatemala should really focus on the materials their dentist will use. Many patients are so focused on the total cost of their dental care that they forget to discuss materials,” says Guerra.
“It doesn’t make sense for patients to travel 2000 miles to put inferior quality materials in their mouth. Sure, high-quality materials often cost a little more. But in 5 years, you’ll thank yourself for choosing the right dentist and the best possible dental materials.”
Adequate Jaw Bone Density
Because a dental implant will be integrated with the jaw bone, it is important that there is sufficient bone to create a strong anchor for the implant. For some people, there will be an added step: grafting bone (usually taken from another part of the body) and allowing that graft to fuse with the existing bone for additional density and strength. Your dentist will typically be able to tell you if you have adequate bone in advance. A phone call can start the process.
Smoking is the single greatest negative factor for the infection or failure of dental implants. If you are a smoker, the guidelines the implant specialist gives you will be very important. The best thing you can do to assure that your dental implants last a lifetime is to stop smoking.
If you’d like to start living life with a beautiful smile of natural-looking dental implants, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page. One of our leading dental specialists will contact you soon to discuss your case.