There are many reasons that dental implants have become the preferred choice for replacing natural teeth:
1). Dental implants restore one’s natural ability to bite and chew comfortably.
2). Dental implants allow people to eat a healthy diet of foods, chewing thoroughly to support good digestion.
3). Dental implants enhance confidence when speaking, laughing and dining in social gatherings.
4). Dental implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone like that of natural tooth roots, which helps to halt bone loss.
5). Through the prevention of further bone loss, dental implants contribute to the well-big of neighboring teeth
6). Dental implants slow the aging changes to facial appearance by preserving jaw bone mass.
7. Dental implants, with properly maintenance, are designed to last a lifetime.
Dental implants are nothing new, with successful versions emerging in the 1950′s. Since that time, implants have been optimized as a lasting tooth replacement system. Today, there are many types that are each designed for specific needs and preferences.
One of the most appealing aspects is the longevity of dental implants. Today’s implants are designed to last a lifetime with up to a 98 percent success rate. This is one of the highest success rates for any implant-in-bone procedure.
However, like anything that’s not a natural part of the body, there is a potential for failure.
Some people assume they are “too old” for implant success. Studies have actually shown that any age can have a successful and lasting result with implants. Findings reveal an equal success rate in both younger and older patients.
One study included 133 adults over the age of 80 who had no teeth. Results showed that the elderly patients had dental implant treatment results comparable to those in younger age groups.
The most compelling factor for success, regardless of age, is having healthy gums and sufficient bone to support the implant. For implant success, it is vital for patients to have good periodontal health – and to maintain it. To achieve this, implant patients must be committed to good oral hygiene at home and regular dental check-ups.
A significant contributor to implant failure?
Studies have shown that people who smoke have more calculus (also known as tartar) than nonsmokers. Calculus is the cement-like buildup on teeth, which is a concentrated mass of oral bacteria. When gums are weakened by an over-accumulation of bacteria, successful integration of dental implants is compromised.
In studies, smokers were 3 – 6 times more likely to have gum disease than nonsmokers. One reason is because smoking is very drying to oral tissues and decreases saliva production. Less saliva means there is less of a natural ‘rinsing’ away of bacteria in the mouth. This leads to higher concentrations of oral bacteria.
Dry tissues also slows healing in the mouth. The longer it takes for tissues to heal, the greater the potential for bacterial complications.
In one study, it was found that smokers were twice as likely as non-smokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing treatment for gum disease. Smokers are also shown to respond less favorably to oral surgery treatments due to slowed healing. For the same reason, dental implants are more likely to fail in smokers.
Researchers who have studied the effects of tobacco smoke on oral tissues say it appears to interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight disease and promote healing. Apparently, smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment, possibly due to tobacco chemicals that interfere with blood flow to the gums. This slows the healing process and makes treatment results less favorable.
According to a study at Temple University, pipe and cigar smokers and users of smokeless tobacco (“chew”) are just as prone to implant complications than cigarette smokers. The study showed three times the amount of moderate to severe gum disease as that of non-smokers.
Pipe smokers also have rates of tooth loss equal to that of cigarette smokers.
Having a successful outcome with dental implant treatment is worth the efforts to quit smoking. Within two weeks of quitting, gum health improves. (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet)
In our Shelby Township dental office, we intend for every dental implant we place to provide a successful outcome, regardless of age. However, patients who smoke must understand they have higher risks for complications, and even failure of dental implants. The first step is a thorough evaluation of your gums and the existing bone to support dental implants.
Begin with a free consultation. In a private setting, I’ll answer your questions about the process, anticipated costs, and even sedation options. This visit may help you take the first step towards the ability to eat the foods you love and laugh with confidence!