Getting dental implants is a major decision that merits thorough research and consideration. Whether you need one tooth replaced or many, you’ll want to fully understand the steps of the surgical procedure, its associated benefits, and what to expect in the long term. At Doctors Implants, one of the most frequent inquiries we receive is about the longevity of dental implants.
Often described as a permanent solution, dental implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. Durable, comfortable, and attractive, they have quickly become the premier tooth replacement option available. But how long do dental implants really last and what could cause them to fail?
To provide a comprehensive answer to these questions, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of a dental implant. Dental implants are composed of three parts:
- The Implant or Post – A titanium screw that is placed directly into the tissue of the jawbone.
- The Abutment – A connector that attaches to the implant and holds the crown in place.
- The Crown – A prosthesis that looks and functions like the visible part of a natural tooth. It gives structure to the face and is used for speaking, chewing, and smiling.
Typically, the post is the longest-lasting component of a dental implant. At Doctors Implants, we use implants made out of titanium, which is highly biocompatible and very strong. The prosthetic teeth are made out of Zirconia, which is 10 times stronger than natural teeth, is highly esthetic, and looks, functions, and feels similar to your natural teeth. With proper maintenance, they provide a solution that can last a lifetime.
While also long-lasting, the exposed abutment and crown are more prone to damage and deterioration and may need to be repaired or replaced every 10-15 years—though this timeframe can also be extended with proper maintenance and care.
What Could Cause a Dental Implant To Fail?
Dental implant failure (the loosening, shifting, loss, or damage of an implant), while rare, can stem from a variety of different causes. Lifestyle choices, oral hygiene, health conditions, and the original quality of the implants themselves can all impact their longevity.
Here are some factors that can play a role in dental implant failure and their subsequent removal and replacement:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease (including infection around the implant)
- Pre-existing medical conditions (Diabetes, cancer, and more)
- Failure to fuse with the jawbone (very rare)
How To Prolong the Life of Your Dental Implants
Like natural teeth, dental implants require dedicated care and maintenance. Though exceptionally strong and durable, they are nevertheless susceptible to failure if exposed to suboptimal treatment.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can prolong the life of your dental implants—and most of them are very straightforward and manageable:
Practice Proper Oral Hygiene
Taking care of your dental implants is just like taking care of your natural teeth: The development and maintenance of a consistent oral hygiene routine is key.
Brush your implants twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, use a waterpik, and take special care to ensure your gums remain healthy. Inflammatory gum disease is one of the leading causes of dental implant failure. Besides being painful and detrimental to your health, it can contribute to bone loss in the jaw and cause dental implants to loosen.
Regular Dental Check-ups
Just because you’ve had some or all of your natural teeth replaced with dental implants doesn’t mean that you can skip dental check-ups and appointments. Visit your dentist regularly to ensure your oral health is on track and, just as you would with natural teeth, avoid lifestyle choices that can aggravate dental problems—such as the use of tobacco products and chewing hard or sticky foods.
Avoiding Teeth Grinding
Bruxism (teeth grinding) can negatively impact the longevity of dental implants. In fact, a recent study revealed that dental implants in patients who clenched or ground their teeth experienced a 25% lower survival rate at the five-year mark than dental implants in patients without bruxism.
I Think I’m Ready; What’s Next?
If you are considering partial or full mouth dental implants, book a free consultation with our dedicated and experienced team of Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and support staff. At Doctors Implants we’ll take the time to answer all of your questions and help you to understand the benefits of our same-day dental implant procedure—the 6 Hour Smile. For more information, call us directly at 844-SMILES2.