Dental implants, which provide a long-lasting and aesthetically beautiful replacement for lost teeth, have completely changed the field of dentistry. “How long do dental implants last?” is one of the most often asked questions by patients. It’s important to know how long dental implants endure before making this investment in your oral health.
In this article, we will discuss the factors that affect the longevity of dental implants, ensuring you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
What Is a Dental Implant?
“What are dental implants?” is often a common question among those seeking to understand this advanced dental prosthesis used to restore lost teeth. A dental implant comprises three primary parts: a dental crown, an abutment, and a titanium post. Through a process known as osseointegration, the titanium post, which serves as a strong artificial tooth root, is surgically inserted into the jawbone.
Upon successful integration, the abutment is securely fastened to the post, and a custom-manufactured dental crown is placed on top, delivering a long-lasting and realistic-looking replacement for a lost tooth. Dental implants have gained popularity as a common choice for tooth replacement because they offer both functional and aesthetic advantages.
The Longevity of Dental Implants Varies
Dental implants are a highly durable option for replacing missing teeth. However, their lifespan can vary depending on individual health and care. It can also last a lifetime for some patients, while others may need periodic repairs or replacements, similar to other dental restorations.
In general, the titanium post and abutment of the implant are lifelong components. The upper restoration undergoes more wear and tear over time and may require replacement eventually. Issues with the post are more likely to occur early on and can often be resolved through oral surgery or treatments to promote osseointegration.
Once the post securely integrates with the jaw tissue, it forms a permanent bond, with detachment typically resulting from accidents or trauma. If you maintain the implant, you’ll likely only need restoration work for minor damage. However, restorations placed on top of the abutment will likely need replacement. The most common restoration, crowns, typically require replacement every 15 to 20 years.
Other tooth replacement options, like partial dentures and bridges, can have lifespans ranging from as short as 3 years to as long as 10 years, but generally only a little longer. Dental implants tend to outlast all these alternatives, even if some implants need replacement over time.
While any dental procedure, including dental implants, can fail, most complications arise in the initial weeks after installation. After this initial healing and osseointegration phase, success rates can be as high as 98%, resulting in overall success rates ranging from 93% to 98%. While most patients can enjoy a lifetime with their dental implants without complications, it’s essential to acknowledge that not every implant will last indefinitely.
How can we ensure the longevity of dental implants?
Although the titanium screw is highly resilient, the connection to the jawbone can be compromised if you do not adequately care for your teeth. Maintaining the appearance and functionality of your implant over an extended period requires simple routine dental upkeep, including regular brushing, flossing, and mouth rinses.
Ensuring a dental implant’s longevity over the years requires some fundamental maintenance. For instance:
Brush and floss your teeth.
It is essential to maintain good dental hygiene practices. Make sure to floss at least once a day and clean your teeth twice a day. This procedure is not only necessary for the maintenance of dental implants but also recommended for everyone.
While dental implants are immune to damage, it is still important to maintain the health of your gums as well as your teeth, as these factors directly affect the longevity of your implants.
Go to the dentist every 6 months.
Maintaining the lifespan of your dental implant requires routine dental examinations. The stability of your implant is influenced by keeping your gums and teeth clean. These tests also look for issues like gum disease that could compromise the long-term health of your implant.
One of the most significant threats to the health of your dental implant is smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums and the veins that support them. This might delay healing and important osseointegration and perhaps keep your implant from securing itself properly.
Live a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining overall health is an integral aspect of preserving your dental well-being. Bone health plays a pivotal role since weakening your bones can diminish your jaw’s ability to support your implant and other teeth adequately.
Consider incorporating vitamins and supplements, such as calcium and potassium, into your regimen to support bone health, but it’s advisable to seek approval from your doctor before doing so.
Bad Habits Can Shorten the Lifespan of Dental Implants
Apart from leading an unhealthy lifestyle, several detrimental habits can reduce the longevity of dental implants. These habits include:
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the repetitive activity of jaw muscles involving clenching or grinding teeth, along with bracing or thrusting of the mandible. This phenomenon can occur day and night, exerting significant stress on the teeth and jaw.
Bruxism is a condition triggered by stress, anxiety, or sleep disorders that may appear inconsequential but can significantly harm your teeth. Teeth grinding exerts pressure on the surrounding bones and tissues, potentially leading to long-term damage and even bone tissue loss. This presents a heightened risk of implant failure for individuals with dental implants.
Clenching Your Jaw
Engaging in the act of clenching your teeth applies unwarranted force to your jawbone, which can ultimately result in implant failure. If you discover that you are clenching your teeth during the daytime, try to ease the tension in your jaw muscles and refrain from subjecting your implants to unnecessary pressure.
Using Your Teeth as Tools
Teeth are not designed to serve as tools, yet many employ them to open bottles or bite nails. Such practices impose unwarranted strain on your teeth, potentially causing chips, cracks, or breakage. Engaging in these activities can elevate the risk of implant failure if you have dental implants.
What to Do with a Failed Implant?
You don’t necessarily have to abandon the idea of dental implants in the event of failure. In many instances, we can replace the implant or the damaged portion. If the implant post doesn’t fuse with the bone, a bone graft might be suggested to create more space for osseointegration.
When there are concerns that a new implant may not succeed, we can explore alternative options like bridges or dentures. If you’re experiencing issues with the implant that hasn’t failed, we can address the problem and prevent failure.
A thorough cleaning around the implant and a course of antibiotics may suffice to rescue the implant, tackling a condition known as peri-implantitis, which often jeopardizes the implant’s longevity. If there’s damage to the restoration only, it’s a straightforward process to craft a new custom piece and replace the old one in a quick procedure.
Dental Implants vs. other tooth replacement options
Dental implants have emerged as the favored long-term remedy for tooth loss for patients and dentists. These implants permanently replace natural teeth and offer the advantage of stable biting and chewing without the potential slippage associated with dentures.
Unlike dentures, dental implants are securely affixed in place, enabling you to maintain your oral hygiene routine, which includes daily brushing and flossing alongside your natural teeth. Moreover, since they are anchored within the interior jawbone, dental implants do not exert pressure on neighboring teeth, as is familiar with dental bridges, and require no special cleaning procedures.
Secure Your Dental Implants at Cal Dental Anaheim
When it comes to top-notch dental implants, Cal Dental Anaheim is your go-to choice for reliable tooth replacements. Our dental implants services cover a wide range, from placing dental implants for single-tooth replacements to implant-supported bridges and dentures. With our precise and meticulous approach, your dental implant can offer a lasting solution.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Anaheim, CA, office, or you can also submit an appointment request on our website. We are looking forward to seeing you and providing you with a lifetime of quality dental replacements.
What is the typical lifespan of a dental implant?
Dental implants are designed to be a long-term solution for missing teeth. On average, they can last for 20 years or more, and many individuals enjoy their implants for a lifetime. However, individual experiences may vary based on specific factors.
What habits or behaviors can affect the durability of dental implants?
Several factors can influence the longevity of dental implants, including oral hygiene, lifestyle habits like smoking, and underlying medical conditions. Maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding tobacco use are essential for ensuring the extended life of dental implants.
Can dental implants fail, and if so, what are the common reasons for failure?
While dental implants have a high success rate, there is a slight risk of failure. Common reasons for implant failure include infection, inadequate osseointegration (bone integration), excessive bite forces, and certain systemic health issues. Diligent post-operative care and following your dentist’s recommendations can mitigate these risks.
Are there any specific maintenance requirements for dental implants over time?
Dental implants typically require minimal maintenance. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential to monitoring the condition of your implants. In some cases, minor adjustments or component replacements may be necessary to ensure the long-term success of your dental implant.
What can I do to extend the life of my dental implants?
To prolong the lifespan of your dental implants, prioritize excellent oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing. If you smoke, consider quitting, as smoking can increase the risk of implant complications. Adhering to your dentist’s post-operative care instructions and attending routine check-ups are critical for preserving the longevity of your dental implants.