When it comes to tooth replacement, dental implants offer the best treatment option for missing or damaged teeth. But how long do dental implants last? Well, this will depend on several factors like your oral hygiene, lifestyle, and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Generally, dental implants are designed to last permanently in your mouth. However, they have the potential to fail in a matter of months or years after the replacement. Nevertheless, implants can be replaced in certain circumstances.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are structures that replace damaged or missing teeth. The implant is placed directly into or onto your jawbone to act as an artificial tooth. Implant-based restorations have three main components:
The implant post is made from surgical-grade titanium and is the piece inserted into your jawbone. The implant post is threaded, so it can fuse to the bone (osseointegration) to create a strong bond with the surrounding bone.
Inside the implant post is a hollow space where an abutment screws into the implant base and connects it to the crown. The top of the abutment sits above the gum line.
The prosthesis is the part that attaches to the abutment using a small screw covered by composite resin or dental adhesives. Prosthesis comes in three different types – a crown, bridge, or denture. Crowns are used when replacing a single tooth, while bridges and dentures replace multiple teeth or a mouthful of teeth.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
On average, the lifespan of a dental implant is at least 25 years. Some sources even say dental implants can be permanent. However, since the dental implant consists of three main components, they must be considered when determining how long a dental implant will last.
Typically, the implant post lasts the longest since it's fused to the jawbone. This means it's not exposed to things that can cause damage. The abutment and prosthesis, on the other hand, are more exposed and likely to become damaged.
Generally speaking, dental implants may need replacement every 10 to 15 years because the constant chewing and biting will eventually cause the exterior surface to wear down. But, like we said, the exact lifespan of dental implants will be determined by a number of factors, including:
Your Oral Habits
Certain habits and unconscious actions, like chewing ice, grinding your teeth, and biting hard items can be tough on your crown. Likewise, one can incur physical damage by playing contact games.
The Location of Dental Implant in Your Mouth
Dental implant placement within your mouth can impact how much stress it undergoes on a daily basis. For example, if you’ve replaced a molar or incisor, it will mostly be used to grind and tear food items, which might cause more wear and tear on the prosthesis.
The lifestyle of a dental implant holder can dramatically reduce the lifespan of implants. Smoking is, specifically, a big threat to the lifespan of dental implants. The high nicotine levels can reduce the flow of blood to the implant area, reducing the potential of successful implant integration.
Other things like alcohol, excessive sugar, refined carbohydrates, etc., encourage the growth and spread of plaque. This can accelerate the growth of bacteria, which can contribute to dental implant failure.
Other factors that may influence how long dental implants last include the materials they are made of, pre-existing medical conditions, and diseases.
Caring for Dental Implants
There are several things you can do to maximize the lifespan of your dental implants. It starts with practicing good oral hygiene. This includes regular flossing and brushing and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups.
Daily flossing removes hidden bacteria and plaque, protecting your gum and keeping it healthy. Regular check-ups ensure that damages or cracks are identified earlier on, and your dentist can suggest the best fixes.
When to Replace Dental Implants
Like we’ve mentioned, dental implants can last a lifetime, if well taken care of. Nevertheless, they are still prone to failure, in which case they’ll need to be removed and replaced. Some of the instances that may warrant the replacement of your dental implants include:
Infection around the implant
Loose dental implant or if the implant falls out
Cracks in the implant
Having said that, these are factors that may contribute to dental implant failure:
Insufficient care and maintenance
An inexperienced surgeon
Medications and treatment, like radiation therapy and blood-thinning medications
Overall, dental implants are designed to last extremely long compared to other tooth replacement options. If well taken care of, they have a lifespan of around 25 years or even longer.
Keep in mind that some implants may fail due to various reasons, including an inexperienced surgeon. That’s why it's critical to seek the services of a professional with a good reputation. The good news is that failed dental implants can be replaced.
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