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When asked, “how long do dental implants last?” we can say without hesitation that a dental implant is a permanent solution to replace a missing tooth. Studies have shown a 95% success rate over a ten-year period, but just how permanent is it?
When given the appropriate care – e.g. regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups, the titanium screw itself can last a very long time. In many instances, that can equate to a lifetime.
However, the dental crown typically lasts 15 years and may need replacing due to normal wear and tear.
So to answer the question, “how long do dental implants last?” the short answer is that the implant itself is designed to last a long time, but the restoration that sits on top of the dental implant (the crown) will probably need replacing.
So why do dental implants last that long when other forms of restoration don’t?
Unlike other forms of tooth restoration, dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone during implant surgery. Because they interface directly with the jawbone, they become bonded during a process known as osseointegration. In other words, once fully stabilised, dental implants become part of the structure of the mouth.
For this reason, with proper care, they will last a very long time and shouldn’t need to be replaced at all.
How dental Implants fail?
New dental implant patients do, however, need to be aware of the fact that there are instances, conditions or situations when a dental implant won’t last very long. Here are some examples of when a dental implant can fail prematurely.
Certain medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or pre-existing conditions such as cancer can significantly shorten the lifespan of a dental implant.
Like some cancer patients, diabetic patients may take significantly longer for the bone fusion process (osseointegration) to occur. Diabetic patients are also at greater risk of gum infections, which affect how long a dental implant lasts. The risk of implant failure in patients with diabetes increases significantly.
Poor oral hygiene
Another factor that impacts how long dental implants last is poor oral care. Dental implants aren’t simply ‘fit and forget’ restorations. While they are hassle-free compared to other teeth replacement options like dentures, a patient needs to commit to a lifetime of good oral care.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which can cause a condition known as peri-implantitis. The painful condition affects the bone tissue surrounding the implant, causing the titanium screw to loosen and eventually fall out.
Lifestyle choices such as smoking are also problematic for newly placed dental implants. Tooth implants can be affected by bacteria. Because tobacco smoke is known to contain hundreds of different types of bacteria, a dentist will insist that a patient refrains from smoking several weeks or months before implant surgery. Continuing may shorten the lifespan of a dental implant indefinitely.
How long do dental implants last – A summary
With proper care and attention, tooth implants can last a considerably long time. Although implants may appear initially expensive, they represent a sound investment in your overall health, not just now but for the future.
If you would like to find out about how an implant-based restoration can restore your smile or would like to know more about how long dental implants last, contact our experienced team at Smiles First Dental.
We take the time to discuss your options, answer all of your questions and concerns and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Call us on (02) 9000 1138 or request a consultation today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.