Dental implants are an excellent way to restore your smile, confidence, and tooth functionality. However, a common question among those considering getting them is: How long do dental implants last?
In this blog post, we’ll answer your questions about dental implants and tell you how to make your dental implants last longer. Keep reading to learn more!
What is a Dental Implant? What are its Components?
Around 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, while more than 36 million people in the US do not have any natural teeth left.
Dental implants are an excellent option for those looking to replace multiple or a complete set of missing teeth. Options like all-on-4 implants require just 4 supporting screws to support an entire set of teeth on either the upper or lower jaw.
The implant is a titanium screw surgically implanted in the jawbone, fusing with the surrounding bone and gum tissue to support a dental crown or a complete set of bridges/dentures.
Yet the question remains, how long do dental implants last?
Dental implants have been constantly upgraded over the last 10 to 20 years to eliminate implant rejection and functionality problems.
However, issues like implant misuse or improper placement, poor bone density, and pre-existing medical conditions/diseases can cause implant failure.
Let’s now take a look at the main parts of a dental implant and see how the restoration process works:
- The Implant: The implant post is a screw-like device made from a surgical-grade titanium screw surgically inserted into the jawbone. The metal implant is left there for a few months to ensure that it fuses and integrates with the jaw bone. This process is called osseointegration.
You require a minimum bone and gum tissue density level to ensure proper fusion and support for the implant.
- Abutment: The inside of the implant screw is kept hollow to fix the second piece, also called the abutment. The abutment post is also made from metal and is screwed inside the embedded implant to support the topmost part, i.e., the dental prosthesis or crown.
- Crown: A dental implant is made to fit a single crown made from composite resin to replace a missing tooth. The crown is fixed using a dental adhesive or is screwed into the abutment.
Once set in place, the dental crown brings back your natural smile while restoring your ability to bite, chew, etc.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
The dental crown or bridges/dentures usually last for about 10 to 15 years before needing replacement, while dental implants last much longer.
Dental implants have a success rate of 95%, and they fail in extremely rare cases due to improper placement, inexperienced dentists, or rapid bone deterioration.
Most experts say dental implants can last up to 25 years or more. However, according to many, dental implants are permanent if maintained properly.
The structure of the implant usually fails when it becomes loose or shifts its position causing pain and discomfort whenever you take a bite or chew.
Here are the Key Signs of Dental Implant Failure:
- You can feel the implant moving in your jawbone
- You experience sharp pain at the implant site, especially when biting or chewing
- Peri-implantitis is a localized infection that causes inflammation and bone and gum tissue loss around an osseointegrated implant. Its primary symptoms include:
- Bleeding or receding gums
You should see your dentist immediately for a check-up whenever you experience any of the abovementioned symptoms.
Why Do Dental Implants Fail?
After exploring “How long do dental implants last?”, let’s examine the main reasons behind implant failure and what you can do to avoid the same.
- Improper Oral Care and Maintenance: Dental implants are made from inorganic matter. However, it does not mean you do not have to maintain proper oral hygiene after getting them.
Studies have shown that dental implants last longer in people with good oral hygiene. The bone and gum tissue around a dental implant must be healthy for proper osseointegration. If the area around the implant becomes infected or inflamed due to gum diseases caused by poor oral hygiene, it can also destabilize the implant.
So you must brush and floss at least twice daily to keep your implants and natural teeth in perfect health. You should also book a regular dental check-up every 6 months to check for early signs of cavities or gum disease.
- Unhealthy Food Choices: You must also be careful about your food choices after getting implants. Eating foods that are sugary, hard, or extra sticky can put additional stress on your dentures and the underlying implants.
Chewing hard and clenching your jaw frequently also cause damage to your artificial dentures and put pressure on the deeply-embedded implants.
- Insufficient Bone Mass or Density: Dental implants require a certain density level to fuse with your jaw properly. A low bone density can inhibit or hamper osseointegration and cause your implants to dislodge easily after the slightest pressure.
If you lack the bone density required to support dental implants, you can consider getting mini-implants instead. Or your dentist may recommend bone and gum grafts to provide greater structural support.
- Teeth Grinding: You’ve heard that teeth grinding can damage your natural teeth, but did you know that it can adversely impact the lifespan of your dental implants, too?
Teeth grinding involves repeated motions that can cause the implant to shift, interfering with osseointegration. The implant is not properly fixed due to incomplete fusion with the jawbone and surrounding gum tissue, so it is easily dislodged under pressure.
Teeth grinding is also bad for the dental crowns on top as it causes them to wear down much faster.
- Smoking and Drinking: Studies have shown that smokers have a higher chance of implant failure than non-smokers. This is because smoking increases your susceptibility to gum disease.
Smoking also reduces blood flow to the implantation sites, preventing the surgically-inserted titanium screws from fusing properly with the surrounding bone and tissue. In some cases, it also hinders the healing of the implant sites.
Drinking excessively also interferes with osseointegration and can result in failed dental implants. You need to be aware of all these bad habits and practices that impact how long do dental implants last?
- Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: Medical conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, a weakened immune system, and bleeding disorders can also cause implant failure due to poor osseointegration.
Apart from these disorders, certain medications like blood thinners, immunosuppressants, and radiation therapy can also lead to implant failure.
- Age: It’s a biological fact that bone density and muscle strength reduce with age. Older patients also have a higher chance of having multiple health conditions, or they may take longer to heal. You must be vigilant about your diet and follow the instructions and guidelines your dentist shares to maintain your implants.
Looking to Get Dental Implants in Osseo, Minnesota? Book a Consultation with Osseo Dental Today!
We hope we have answered the question, “How long do dental implants?” to your satisfaction. However, if you have more questions about dental implants, please post your queries in the comments below.
If you are considering getting dental implants and are looking for an experienced dental team to analyze your condition, get in touch with the dental experts at Osseo Dental today!
If you are suffering from an improperly-placed implant or experiencing sharp pains around your implant sites, book an appointment by calling at (763) 425–2626 or drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.