Your statement.......<<<Now I need to fill the gap that the baby teeth left behind and think I would prefer implants over etching the adjacent teeth to have bridges inserted.>>>
I assume when you say "etching" you are referring to what is called Maryland bridges? These are a type of permanent bridge that replaces 1-2 missing teeth by cementing metal "wings" onto anchor teeth with the fake teeth in the middle. They do not require the cutting down of the anchor teeth as in conventional bridgework. The problem with Maryland bridges is decay occuring around the wings. So it is imperative to have them carefully monitored at routine cleanings with periodic xrays. They can also become lose and fall out. They need to be done exactly right for them to have a long lifespan of about 10-15 years.
Conventional bridgework requires the anchor teeth to be cut down and covered by crowns which are called abutments. The fake teeth are called pontics, they are in the middle and soddered to the abutments. The problems with this type of replacement is decay occuring underneath the crowns on the anchor teeth, the bridge would need to be removed and remade. The lifespan of a well fitting conventional bridge on healthy teeth is about 15 years. After that, the cement gives out and bacteria gets in underneath the crowns.
Another replacement option are called "nesbitts". These are fake teeth with acrylic wings that wrap around the adjacent teeth. They snap into the empty space where the teeth use to be. They are removable and should not be worn to sleep. The problems with these are they can pop out while chewing and accidently swallowed.
Dental implants are made of titanium or zirconium. In the US the most commonly used material is the titanium. If the bone is healthy, if the patient is healthy and does not have periodontal disease or smoke .......... and that status does not change in any drastic way ..... if the implants are put in properly and the implant crowns fit well....... the implant itself may never need to be replaced. The implant crown may need to be replaced 10-15 years down the road, but the implant should still be solid. All of those factors play a significant role in the lifespan of the dental implant.
If an implant fails.............
It depends on why it failed as to what can be done to replace it. If it is due to infection or periodontal disease, then the implant should be removed and NOT replaced with another one because it will fail again. If an implant "wears out" (which I have yet to see one in the last 30 years) and it needs to be replaced, providing the bone is healthy, a larger implant (wider, maybe longer) would be placed in the same location as the first one. I have seen patients who have solid, healthy dental implants that were put in their mouths 20+ years ago. In these cases, the bone was healthy to begin with and the patients have had no significant health issues as well.
You do have some choices...... and if you and your bone are healthy, the implants may be the wisest choice for you to replace your missing adult teeth.
I hope this information is helpful to you........ all the best!
Originally Posted by TalkingNeuron
I have a few questions about implants, but first here is a little bio on my circumstance. I have a couple of permanent teeth that never came in. Ultimately, I had to have the baby teeth extracted, since they were beginning to decay. The second one came out this January. Now I need to fill the gap that the baby teeth left behind and think I would prefer implants over etching the adjacent teeth to have bridges inserted.
It is my understanding that with state-of-the-art biomedical engineering implants of any kind (teeth, hip replacements, etc.) last at most 15-20 years. As a 37 year-old male that hopes to live past 57, is this a sound option? Once an implant fails, what concerns should I have about a new implant in the same location?