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How Long Do Dental Implants Last - What Affects Their Longevity?

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    How long do dental implants last
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    Dental implants are one of the most successful developments in dentistry. They enable people who have lost single or multiple teeth, for one reason or another, to fully restore their smile. These small structures have been used for decades, and during that time they have proven to be very efficient.

    Despite the higher success rate of dental implants, some people are still unsure about getting them. After all, these kinds of artificial teeth are considerably more expensive than the older form of teeth restoration, such as dental bridges and dentures. People are often wondering if teeth implants are a wise investment and how long they will actually last.

    In this article, we will address one of the most common questions people have: "How long do dental implants last?" We'll also go over what factors influence their longevity and why this tooth-replacement method might be worthwhile.

    What is the lifespan of dental implants?

    The dental implant itself or the artificial tooth's root typically has high endurance and the potential to last a lifetime. Nevertheless, this is true as long as you take adequate care and maintenance of your mouth including daily cleaning and regular examinations by a dental specialist.

    However, when it comes to the lifespan of dental implants there are actually a couple of parts linked to them. One is related to the implant itself or the titanium root inserted into the jawbone. As we said, it is a long-lasting, even permanent structure.

    The other component is what goes on top of the screw, whether it is a dental crown for a single tooth or a bridge for an entire arch of teeth. Normal chewing causes some wear and tear on dental crowns and bridges. As a result, they usually need to be renewed every 10 to 15 years. However, keeping up a high level of oral care may also help you extend their life.

    What can affect the longevity of dental implants?

    Despite the fact that dental implant failure occurs rarely, certain circumstances can increase the chances. There are several factors that might have an impact on the longevity of your artificial teeth, and we'll list them here.

    Oral care habits

    You can drastically shorten both the lifespan of your implants and your natural teeth by not taking the best care of them. Brushing and flossing daily as well as having regular dental check-ups are of utmost importance for the health of your artificial teeth and your overall oral health.

    When you neglect your oral hygiene, you will get plaque around your teeth. Over time, this plaque may act in such a way as to lead to gum disease or gingivitis, which is detrimental to gums and teeth.

    Having too much plaque surrounding your dental implant significantly increases the chance of developing an infection or the so-called peri-implant disease. The condition can usually be treated in its early stages, but in severe cases, it can lead to implant failure.


    No smoking

    As we all know, smoking is extremely harmful to our health, affecting not only our lungs and immunity but also our oral health. Tobacco usage can also potentially raise the risk of dental implant failure.

    As we mentioned earlier, the dental implant is a structure made of a few components. The implant placement is typically completed over two appointments. The first is the actual dental implant surgery where the titanium root is inserted into the bone. Then there is a recovery process of about three to six months. The abutment and crown are normally placed in the second appointment.

    As you smoke, the sheer amount of smoke that you can obstruct normal blood flow which may have a negative impact on your healing. In addition, smoking can also have an adverse effect on your implant in a long run. Smokers are much more vulnerable to the accumulation of harmful bacteria and plaque than non-smokers. And as we mentioned above, the presence of plaque can damage your teeth and increase the risk of the implant failing.

    Bone quality

    The implant requires a substantial amount of bone to be inserted so that the structure remains stable and secure. There is a high risk of failure if your implant is positioned in an area with insufficient bone.

    Before conducting dental implant surgery, your dentist will make sure you have sufficient and quality bone at the implant site. When there is enough bone mass, the implant screw can be placed safely and successfully. This will also ensure implant stability following your treatment.

    If there is insufficient bone or if the bone is of a particular quality that is very soft and not dense, bone grafting or sinus lifting may be recommended prior to implant surgery. During these procedures, dental surgeons rebuild the bone tissue and add volume to the jaw bone.

    Skills of the dental surgeon

    The skills of the surgeon and the details of the treatment plan can have a significant impact on the lifespan of your dental implant.

    Implant longevity is seriously compromised if the implant is positioned incorrectly or if it is placed in an area where the bone is too thin.

    Other factors that affect how long dental implants last

    • Bruxism. Patients suffering from Bruxism or teeth grinding are more likely to experience dental implant failure. Such individuals may also need to replace their dental crowns more frequently.
    • Pre-existing medical conditions. Some medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, a weakened immune system, diabetes, and others, may have an impact on the longevity of implants.
    • Age. Dental implants fail more frequently in older people due to poor bone quality and a weakened immune system.

    How to maintain your dental implants to avoid failure?

    Generally speaking, dental implants are a permanent solution for restoring lost teeth. In terms of appearance, feel, and function, they are similar to natural teeth, and basically require the same care. All you need to do is to keep good dental hygiene and visit your dentist twice a year as recommended.

    Maintain good oral hygiene

    Oral hygiene

    The best thing you can do to ensure your dental implants will remain intact for a long time is to clean them properly and on a regular basis. This is critical not only in the days following your dental implant surgery but also in the long run.

    Cleaning your dental implants is essentially the same as cleaning your natural teeth. Simply wash, floss, and use non-alcoholic mouthwash on a daily basis.

    Regular dental cleanings by a professional are also crucial to ensuring the health of your teeth and dental implants. These procedures do more than just clean the surface of your teeth. Your dentist/ dental hygienist will eliminate plaque from beneath the gum line. This will prevent the growth of bacteria which is the leading cause of infection and gum disease.

    Get a dental examination every 6 months

    In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene, it is critical to visit your dentist on a regular basis to check your overall oral health as well as the health and alignment of the implant with the adjacent teeth.

    You will probably need to make several visits during the first few months after your oral surgery. However, after the healing and adaptation period, you should take care of your implant like any other tooth. In other words, you should go to the dentist every six months, just like you did before having implants.

    These visits will enable your doctor to detect any problems with your artificial and natural teeth and treat them in time. Implants, in general, do not decay like natural teeth. However, if you have gum disease, it can affect the gums surrounding your implant, leading to bone loss and eventually failure.

    Make healthy lifestyle choices

    You can harm your teeth and dental implants by making some bad lifestyle choices. If you really wish to have a healthy mouth, you should refrain from smoking, using nicotine products, and drinking alcohol. Furthermore, try to limit your intake of sweet and chewy foods since they might also damage your pearly whites.

    People who smoke and drink excessively are more likely to have their implants fail. Furthermore, such bad habits can cause staining and damage to the surrounding teeth.

    When do dental implants need to be replaced?

    Dental implants are typically very long-lasting structures with a success rate of more than 95%. The majority of patients do not experience problems or negative effects following their dental implant treatment. Although your dental crown might need to be replaced after a certain period of time, replacing the screw or abutment of the implant is very unlikely. However, such a risk still exists, and here are some examples of when it might be required.

    • The implant does not integrate well with the surrounding bone. It usually occurs when the implant is placed in an area with insufficient bone.
    • There is a massive gum infection around the implant (peri-implantitis). It is usually similar to gum disease with the difference that it affects the gum tissue beneath the implant. The condition often causes bone loss which in turn may result in implant failure.
    • The implant is somehow destabilised. This may occur if the implant has not been placed properly or if the healing process (osseointegration) has not gone as planned.
    • The implant is broken under a heavy load. It can be caused by an injury or by applying too much pressure before the implant has fully fused with the jaw bone.

    When the dental implant fails, several things can be done depending on where the failure lies.

    Whenever there is a problem with the prosthetic components (crown or abutment), this can be easily resolved by removing these parts and replacing them with new ones.

    If the implant itself or the screw fails, this is more of a hassle. The broken and failed implant is usually removed surgically. Your surgeon may also need to perform a bone graft procedure in order to repair the tissue. A healing period is then required before a new dental implant is installed.

    Dental implants vs. other tooth replacement options

    When it comes to replacing missing teeth you basically have a few options - regular dental implants, dental bridges or dentures. Dental implants are normally seen as the best method because they provide long-term solutions and contribute to better oral health.

    Unlike conventional bridges and dentures which require replacement every 10 to 15 years, teeth implants can potentially last a lifetime. In addition, this structure feels and functions just like a natural tooth. Bridges and dentures, on the other hand, may become uncomfortable over time because of bone loss.

    Dental implants offer comfortability and stability (they do not shift and move over time). Additionally, they can be attached without sacrificing neighbouring teeth, as is the case with bridges.

    A significant disadvantage of teeth implants that often causes people to choose other types of tooth replacement is their cost. Implants are typically more expensive than bridges and dentures, costing between $2000 and $6000 for a single dental implant.

    After all, is it worth getting dental implants?

    Yes, dental implants are an ideal option for people who have missing or damaged teeth that need replacing. In spite of the fact that the implant placement process is sometimes lengthy and expensive, the end result is very rewarding.

    These small teeth fixtures are available in many types, so they can be used to replace a single tooth, a few teeth, or a whole set of teeth. One of the biggest benefits of implants is that they can last a lifetime.

    However, consistent oral hygiene at home is essential for the maintenance of your new teeth. Regular visits to your dentist for examinations and cleanings are also important for ensuring the longevity of your implants.

    Frequently asked questions

    Frequently asked questions

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