How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are one of the most durable ways to replace missing teeth, but how long do dental implants last? Are they cost-effective? The short answer is that dental implants themselves can last a lifetime, but the crowns attached to them may need replacing at some point.

The longevity of dental implants makes them a surprisingly affordable alternative to dentures and bridges, which must be replaced periodically and can put a strain on healthy teeth and gums. These strong man-made natural root resembling replacements are cared for the same way you care for your natural teeth. There is no added expense for particular cleaning products and usually no additional time needed for oral hygiene care.

When comparing dental implants to other tooth replacement options, implants last longer, are stronger, and don’t interfere with eating whatever you like. The value of implant tooth replacements is undeniable, making them a worthwhile investment and comparable in price to other options that may not last as long.

The Parts of a Dental Implant

When someone refers to dental implants, they usually mean the entire process – the implants themselves, the abutments that serve as a connection to the replacement crowns, and the replacement crowns. The term “dental implants” in the strictest sense refers to the actual titanium posts that are surgically implanted into the jawbone.

The dental implants set into the jaw bone may last a lifetime. While the crowns are incredibly lifelike and sturdy, the natural wear and tear of chewing and biting will eventually wear the material down, which may eventually require future replacement.

As there is no set time for the longevity of product material, crown repair or replacement can be done if necessary while still preserving the implant. With proper care and regular professional maintenance visits a crown may last a lifetime.

Is Dental Implant Failure Possible?

The success rate of dental implants is high (95%), but there may be occasions when dental implants lose support. It is rare for dental implants to fail once they have integrated with the surrounding jawbone. This process, called osseointegration, provides a stable base for the prosthetic crown. Signs of a failed dental implant may include a loose implant, pain when biting or chewing, redness and inflammation of the gums, bleeding or discharge, and receding gums.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Brushing and flossing are critical to the long-term success of dental implants. If you are not conscientious with daily oral hygiene care, plaque and tartar will form around these replacement teeth similar with what happens with natural teeth. Gum disease can weaken the supporting gum attachment and underlying jawbone support for the implant. If not treated early, this can lead to implant failure.

Not Enough Jawbone

Your dentist and specialist will make every effort to ensure your implants are secure by evaluating your jawbone and overall health before choosing implants for your dental reconstruction. Traditional x-rays and special 3-dimensional imaging are utilized to evaluate the condition of the jawbone, including how much bone is present and how strong it is. If there is not enough bone to support the implants, a bone graft is needed. With time, there may be a change in the patient’s health that could affect both the quality and quantity of the supporting bone structure thus compromising implant stability. If management for this health problem is not controlled, implant loss may result.

Smoking

For some patients, smoking may have a profound impact on the longevity of dental implants. Smoking affects normal blood flow in the jawbone, which can interfere with the healing process and prevent the full integration of the implant with the jawbone. Smoking is linked to gum disease which could cause possible implant failure.

Health Problems or Treatments

Some medical conditions and their treatments can contribute to dental implant failure, including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Genetically determined auto immune diseases
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Radiation therapy

Tooth Grinding

Grinding your teeth puts immense pressure on the porcelain crowns, which transfers to the abutments and implants. The grinding motion transfers stress to the implant, interfering with osseointegration and eventually loosening the implant. Over time, uncontrolled forces from teeth grinding (bruxism) may cause the crown material to crack or break.

How to Make Dental Implants Last

Successful dental implant treatment can dramatically improve your life. The implant crown restoration is durable, natural-looking, and offers the same advantages as natural teeth. The vast majority of dental implant components perform flawlessly for decades and even a lifetime. At the same time, the crowns may last for 20 years or longer.

To ensure your dental implants last, take proper care of them, including:

  • Brush at least twice a day with either an electric or manual soft bristle toothbrush
  • Floss twice daily
  • Consider using a water flosser for daily plaque removal
  • Make sure you have professional teeth cleaning and examinations every six months
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

With proper care, your new smile can last for decades, with the titanium implants lasting a lifetime. If you have questions about dental implants, please get in touch with our office at Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042 or visit our website to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gordon.