How Can Dental Implants Be Permanent?

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

We’ve talked before about how we do not expect most dental restorations to last forever. Once a dental crown is placed on a tooth–or a dental implant–we expect we will have to replace it. But that’s not necessarily true with dental implants. They have been shown to last 20, 30, 40 years or more, serving their owner for the rest of their lives.

So how is it that dental implants can actually be permanent? Here’s how:

dental implant patient

Actual patient of Dr. Kent White

Dental Implants Are Made of Titanium

Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a remarkable metal for many reasons. Primarily, it has the ability to bond with your bones, which allows it to be secure in the body. But it is also very strong, capable of withstanding 100 times the force that your natural tooth material is capable of supporting. So mechanical failure of the implant is very rare.

Titanium is also very corrosion-resistant–it won’t rust. Well, it rusts slightly, but unlike iron rust, titanium rust is very strong and creates a strong coating on your dental implant.

Dental Implants Are Supported by Bone

But it’s important that dental implants aren’t being asked to withstand the forces of biting and chewing all by themselves. Instead, they are sunk into the bone, which helps support them and distribute forces, so your dental implant isn’t as vulnerable as a dental crown, which has to stand largely on its own.

Dental Implants Stimulate the Bone

Dental implants form a reciprocal relationship with your bone. As the bone supports the dental implant, the dental implant stimulates the bone. This keeps your body from removing the bone around the dental implant, ensuring that the support is always there for your dental implants.

When you have a denture, the body removes bone from underneath that denture, which means the denture stops fitting after a while and needs to be reshaped and eventually replaced, whereas dental implants can remain in place essentially forever.

Protected from Acids and Erosion

Another benefit of being embedded in the bone is that your dental implants are protected from the damaging environment of the mouth. Acidic foods and drinks aren’t allowed to attack the dental implant, which should be protected by your bone and gums. They also won’t be eroded by the repeated action of brushing with abrasive toothpastes.

Why Don’t Dental Implants Always Last?

When you consider the highly advantageous position of dental implants, you might wonder, why do they ever fail? Although failure of dental implants is certainly uncommon, it does happen, often for one of the following reasons.

Poor maintenance: Like your natural teeth, dental implants need to be taken care of to make sure they last. You need to brush, floss, and make regular visits to your dentist to be sure your dental implants don’t get the same kind of infection that can form around teeth, a kind of gum disease we call peri-implantitis. It’s not just the implant that needs good care: cavities and infections on neighboring teeth can spread to your implant.

Poor planning and placement: In order to succeed, dental implants need to be properly placed. This is where choosing to work with an expert cosmetic dentist like Dr. Kent E. White comes in. Dental implants need to be given enough space to allow the restoration to be placed on top, and they need to avoid excessive bite force that can cause the bone around the implant to wear away.

Dr. White can use neuromuscular dentistry to regulate the forces in your bite and ensure that neither your teeth nor your dental implant will be subjected to more force than they can handle.

Risk factors: Sometimes you have characteristics that make your dental implants more likely to fail. It may be a genetic predisposition to certain diseases, or maybe it’s a lifestyle choice like smoking, which can increase your risk of dental implant failure.

Bad luck: It isn’t always possible to track down the cause of your dental implant failures. Although rare, these types of failures can be very frustrating.

Start Your Dental Implant Procedure Today

Are you ready to enjoy a lifetime with your new dental implants in Nashville? If so, then please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Dr. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.