How Long Does a Dental Implant Last?

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Dental implants are a popular tooth replacement option, and for good reason – they can last for many years with proper care. They are made up of three parts: the dental implant (a titanium post surgically implanted in the jawbone), the abutment (a connector piece used to attach the dental implant to the dental prosthetic), and the dental prosthetic (the artificial tooth).

Each of these components is made up of durable biocompatible materials, so your implants can serve you for a very long time. However, how long will they truly last? And what kind of maintenance is required to keep them in good shape? Keep reading to learn more about dental implants and their lifespan.

WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS

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Dental implants are usually made of titanium alloy, which is compatible with bone tissue. After a thorough evaluation and some preparatory procedures, it is placed into the missing tooth’s bone socket. As the bone heals, it grows around the dental implant, anchoring it securely in the jaw. This bonding between bone and a dental implant gives dental implants their strength and stability, making them a long-term and successful solution for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants do not rely on neighbouring teeth for support as dental bridges do. This means that dental implants can be used to replace one or more missing teeth without affecting the health of neighbouring teeth. Additionally, dental implants can help preserve facial structure by preventing bone loss that often occurs when teeth are missing. For all these reasons, dental implants are fast becoming the dental treatment of choice for people who have lost one or more natural teeth.

HOW LONG DOES A DENTAL IMPLANT LAST

It is said that dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution to tooth loss and that they can last between 20 and 30 years. Studies report that a 90-95% success rate can be found in 10-year-old dental implants. Since the teeth interface directly with the jawbone, they become bonded to the surrounding bone tissue through a process called osseointegration. However, the lifespan of a dental implant depends entirely on the quality of the implants and how closely you take care of your teeth.

An implant’s root section is a titanium post that is inserted into your jawbone to replicate the root of a natural tooth. A ceramic crown is used to replace the visible tooth structure. For them to function and last, they must be cared for as a natural tooth would, which means daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR DENTAL IMPLANT

  • Eat cautiously

Dental implant patients need to consider the type of food they eat. Hard and crunchy foods should be avoided to prolong the lifespan of a dental implant. Chewing on ice and bony bits can wear down the artificial tooth.

  • Careful with temperature extremes

Following the dental implant procedure, tooth sensitivity can occur, especially with food and drink that are extremely hot or cold. Metal is an excellent conductor; hence, the metal tooth implant will react negatively with hot beverages.

  • Wait for that cold treat

In terms of the visible dental crown, this is typically made with porcelain to mimic a natural appearance. Porcelain reacts to temperature much as glass does. It expands when heated and contracts when cooled. Try to avoid eating or drinking hot and cold food in quick succession to avoid damage to the dental crown components.

  • Observe proper dental hygiene

As durable as dental implants are, it would still be better to preserve your natural teeth. By adjusting and improving your oral health habits, you can keep your real teeth strong and healthy. It would be ideal to brush following every meal, but brushing your teeth at least twice a day is acceptable. You should also rinse your mouth periodically to avoid bacterial build-up on your teeth.

  • Watch your floss

Your regular teeth are connected to your gums with strong ligaments. Flossing is helpful because it keeps the little crevices between actual teeth free of food debris. However, aggressively flossing around a dental implant can disrupt the seal between the artificial tooth and the gums. This creates a pocket where bacteria can come in and penetrate the jaw bone. This can lead to irritation and bone loss over time. Floss carefully around your implants.

  • Stay current with dental check-ups

To make sure your implant is healing properly, your dentist will have to examine it at regular intervals. Make sure to set up your dental appointment as suggested to get ahead of any possible complications. A six-month interval between appointments is generally suggested.

FACTORS THAT IMPACT THE LIFESPAN OF IMPLANTS

  • Nutrition

For optimal healing, proper nutrition is essential. Your dental implant will give you the opportunity to expand the type of food you can consume. Of course, your diet immediately following the dental implant surgery will be rather limited to allow your gums and implant site time to heal and recuperate. During the first week, you will be limited to a soft diet. This can include oatmeal, soups, and smoothies. You’ll need to avoid hard or sticky food during your recovery time.

  • Oral Hygiene

Be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene practices. You will still be expected to brush and floss regularly to avoid dental diseases and complications. Your dental implants are an investment that relies on the health of surrounding tissue to function properly long-term.

  • Overall health and lifestyle

Conditions like gum disease and systemic complications like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis interfere with the healing of the dental implant and can ultimately cause implant failure if not addressed.

Lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol consumption interfere with blood flow and can impede the healing process. In fact, smokers are at greater risk of dental implant failure than non-smokers.

  • Genetics

Some individuals are simply genetically predisposed to gum disease. Once this has been established in your family, you should take extra care of your gums to avoid gum infections.

  • Professional dental care

Regular professional cleanings clean the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth thoroughly. Plague and bacteria build-up is the main cause of several oral diseases. Stop infections early to avoid more serious complications with dental implants.

WHY ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS SO DURABLE

  • Stability from the bone anchorage. A screw-like post is drilled into the jawbone. Over time, the implant integrates with the surrounding bone to form a strong foundation for the dental implant. As there is a fusion of the metal implant and bone, some may even say that a dental implant is more stable than a natural tooth.
  • Titanium components. Titanium is a biocompatible metal. It is an alloy that does not corrode, which makes it ideal for implants. Typically, the screw-like post and abutment are made from this type of alloy. Rejection is a rare occurrence when using this type of component.
  • Decay resistant. Your mouth is home to several types of bacteria. Tooth decay occurs when there is a build-up of sugar in the mouth, and the resulting acid attacks the tooth enamel. Without treatment, it can lead to tooth loss. Thankfully, this does not occur with implants because the most commonly used materials for dental implants (titanium and ceramic) are impervious to mouth acids.

DO GUMS GROW AROUND DENTAL IMPLANTS

As you heal from getting dental implants, your gums will gradually grow around the implants to provide support, just as they do for your natural teeth. Although gum growth is a vital part of the healing process, your dentist will closely monitor gum growth to ensure that the gums do not grow over the implant completely. This can cause problems with eating and speaking and may also require additional surgery to correct. By keeping an eye on gum growth during your recovery, your dentist can help ensure that you heal properly and enjoy all the benefits of your new dental implants.

DO DENTAL IMPLANTS GET CAVITIES

Dental implants are a popular solution for missing teeth, and one of the main benefits is that they don’t get cavities. Cavities form when tooth enamel weakens, and bacteria begin to break down the tooth, but since dental implants are made of titanium, ceramics, or porcelain, they are not susceptible to cavities.

However, it’s still important to take care of your gums and brush and floss regularly, as gum disease is a common cause of implant failure. If you have dental implants, be sure to see your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. By taking good care of your implants, you can enjoy them for many years to come.

WHEN DO YOU NEED TO REPLACE DENTAL IMPLANTS

The metal components of a dental implant rarely need to be replaced unless implant failure occurs. However, the dental prosthetic may need to be replaced after 15 to 20 years due to natural wear. With proper care, the dental implant can serve as a tooth replacement for 25 or more years.

Overall, dental implants are still a cost-effective treatment option due to their longevity. In contrast, other tooth replacement options like dentures and bridges typically need to be replaced after 5 to 10 years.

WILL BONE GRAFTING AFFECT THE LONGEVITY OF DENTAL IMPLANTS?

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When bone loss has occurred, there may not be enough bone volume or density to support an implant. The long-term success of dental implants is highly dependent on the degree of osseointegration of the implant in sufficiently and healthily dense bone. Bone augmentation helps to restore adequate quality and quantity of the jaw bone. The use of grafts or guided bone regeneration techniques is used in order to improve primary stability during implant placement.

Bone grafting is often necessary in order to prepare the jaw for dental implants. Dental bone grafting is a surgical procedure that adds volume and density to your jawbone in areas where bone loss has occurred. The bone graft material may be taken from your own body (autogenous), or it may be purchased from a human tissue bank (allograft) or an animal tissue bank (xenograft). In some instances, the bone graft material may be synthetic (alloplast).

FINAL THOUGHTS

Although dental implants are notorious for taking several months to complete the entire procedure, they are the longest-lasting tooth replacement option. Easily lasting more than 5 to 10 years, your dental implants are likely to last your entire lifetime with proper care. Although you may need to replace the exposed dental crown or bridge, the metal implant screw is durable and resilient.

Here at Comfort Care Dental, we offer several different dental implant options for our patients looking to reclaim their smiles. To learn more about this revolutionary tooth replacement option, call (08) 9349-0800.

Author

Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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