Dental Implants: How Long Do They Last

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Dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options. They offer several benefits, such as improved appearance and function. However, one of the biggest concerns about dental implants is how long they will last.

In this blog post, Ellen Stirling Dental will discuss the factors that affect the longevity of dental implants and how long implants last. We will also provide tips for keeping your dental implants in good condition!

What Is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are prosthetic devices used to replace missing or damaged teeth. The main parts of a dental implant include:

  • The implant fixture, which is a small titanium post surgically placed into the jawbone and serves as an artificial root for the new tooth
  • The abutment, which connects the implant to the restoration
  • The prosthesis or restoration, which can be in various forms, such as a dental crown, bridge, or denture

Dental implants provide a secure, stable base for an artificial tooth. They are often the ideal solution for tooth loss.

What Is the Average Lifespan of Dental Implants?

The lifespan of dental implants depends on several factors, including placement, maintenance, and oral health. On average, dental implants can last 15 to 20 years or even longer with proper oral care and maintenance. That said, the success rate of dental implants is very high, with studies showing that over 95% of implants remain in place for ten years or more.

What Makes Dental Implants Durable?

Implants are one of the most durable and long-lasting dental treatments for restoring missing teeth for the following reasons:

  • Stability.
    This stability is one of the main reasons dental implants are so durable. The implant is a titanium screw that fuses with your jaw bone, creating a solid foundation for the artificial tooth. This procedure can take several months, and it is important that you have enough healthy bone to support the titanium implant to keep it secure and long-lasting.

  • Quality.
    Another factor contributing to the longevity of dental implants is their quality. Implant dentists use top-of-the-line materials and employ strict standards to ensure that each implant meets exact specifications for size and shape. This allows implants to have a snug fit with your jawbone and properly distribute the forces of biting and chewing.

  • Unique Design.
    The final factor that makes tooth implants so durable is their design. The titanium post that fuses with your jawbone is designed to be stronger than your real teeth, with a greater surface area for better support. The artificial tooth attached to the post is also made from materials like porcelain and zirconia, which are highly resistant to wear from daily activities like eating and even brushing.

Combined with a strict maintenance routine—which includes regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings—the lifespan of dental implants is much higher than other types of dental restoration. They can even last a lifetime with the correct care, while other restorations may need to be replaced every five or ten years.

female dentist in dental clinic providing examination and treatm

What Factors Affect How Long an Implant Lasts?

Several factors can affect the longevity of dental implants. The patient’s age, overall oral health, and the surgical procedure’s complexity may influence how long a dental implant will last. Other factors that can impact its durability include:

  • Oral Hygiene.
    Poor oral hygiene can lead to bacteria buildup and the formation of plaque, which can cause inflammation and infection in the surrounding gums. This may result in gum disease or dental implant failure. It’s important to brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups to ensure optimal oral health.

  • Diet.
    Eating a balanced diet can help keep teeth and gums healthy and strong. Eating sugary foods or drinks can increase the risk of decay of surrounding natural teeth, which can also affect the implant.

  • Smoking.
    Smoking tobacco is a known factor in decreasing implant success rates. Tobacco has been linked to an increased risk of gum disease, infection, and bone loss, which may lead to implant failure.

  • Oral Habits.
    After dental implant surgery, avoid habits that can damage teeth, such as nail-biting or ice-chewing. This will help keep your implant in place during the healing period. Habits such as teeth grinding or clenching can also cause the dental implant to become loose over time, making it more likely for the implants to fail.

 

What Are the Signs That I Need to Replace My Implant?

Over time, a dental implant may need to be replaced for several reasons. It’s important for dental patients with implants to keep an eye out for the warning signs that their implants are beginning to wear down or fail and take action quickly to avoid further damage or infection. Here are some common signs that you need a replacement:

  • Loosening of the Implant.
    Over time, dental implants can become loose due to various factors, including infection, gum disease, and bone loss. If your implant is becoming wobbly or shifting in position, it may need to be replaced soon. A loose implant can lead to other problems, so it’s better to address them right away.

  • Damage to the Implant.
    Dental implants are incredibly strong and durable, but they can still be prone to accidental damage. If you chip, crack or otherwise damage your dental implant, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

  • Infection Around the Implant.
    A healthy dental implant should not cause infection or soreness around the area. If you experience any pain, swelling, or redness around the implant, it may indicate that you need a replacement due to an underlying infection.

  • Loose Abutment Screws.
    Abutment screws are used to attach dental implants to the rest of the prosthetic. If they become loose and cannot be tightened, the implant will need to be replaced.

  • Receding Gums.
    If the gum tissue around an implant starts to pull away and expose more of the metal implant, this could indicate that the implant needs replacing due to a faulty placement.

Awareness of the signs that an implant may need replacing is a key step in long-term successful dental implant treatment.

What Are the Signs I Need to Have the Prosthesis Over My Implant Replaced?

It is important to monitor the condition of the prosthesis over your implant to ensure that it is working properly and will last for as long as possible. Here are some signs that your prosthesis needs to be replaced:

  • Your Prosthesis Is Damaged.
    If your prosthesis is cracked, broken, or otherwise damaged, it’s time to replace it. Damage can weaken the structure of the prosthesis and put extra stress on your implant, which could lead to more serious problems in the future.

  • Your Prosthesis Is Loose.
    If your prosthesis feels loose around the implant, it could be a sign that the prosthesis is not securely attached to the implant. A loose prosthesis can cause discomfort and lead to further damage, so it’s important to replace it as soon as possible.

  • Your Prosthesis Is Not Working Properly.
    If your prosthesis begins to malfunction or does not function properly, this could be a sign that it is time to replace it. If you notice any changes in how your prosthesis works, contact your dentist or prosthodontist for an examination and advice on whether it needs to be replaced.

  • You Have Trouble Speaking or Eating With Your Prosthesis. If you have difficulty speaking or eating with your prosthesis due to changes in shape or size, it may be time to get a new prosthesis.

  • You Notice Changes in How the Prosthesis Fits.
    Over time, your gums and bone structure can change due to aging and disease, which can cause your prosthesis not to fit as well as before. If you notice any changes in the fit or stability of your prosthesis, it may be time to have a new one made.

  • Your Prosthesis is Painful.
    If you start to experience pain in the area where your implant and prosthesis meet, it could mean an infection or some other issue that requires attention. You should consult your dentist to see if you need a new prosthesis.

How Can I Extend the Lifespan of My Implant?

If you’re worried about how long implants last, one way to extend their lifespan is to follow good dental hygiene habits and keep regular appointments with your dentist. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash can help reduce plaque buildup around the implants, minimizing the risk of gum disease or infection.

Additionally, visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings. This will help to catch any potential issues before they become serious, allowing you to get timely treatment and extend the life of your implant.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth without compromising function or aesthetics. With proper care, dental implants can last up to 15 years or longer, making them an excellent long-term investment. With some simple steps, such as good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, you can keep your implant in great condition. If you have any questions about how long implants last, don’t hesitate to contact Ellen Stirling Dental today. Schedule a consultation with our dental team online or contact our dental clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, because dental implants are made of titanium, they cannot develop cavities like natural teeth. However, your dentist may recommend having an annual cleaning and exam to check on the health of the surrounding gums and bone. While dental implants are resistant to decay, bacteria can still accumulate around them and cause gum disease or infection. Taking care of your dental implants and visiting the dentist can help you maintain their longevity.

Almost any patient over 18 can be approved for dental implants, provided their health, and medical history is appropriate. In fact, even younger adult patients with permanent teeth can get certified for dental implants. Generally, the best candidates for successful implant surgery must have good oral health and enough jawbone to support the implant. As long as all these criteria are met, almost anyone over 18 is eligible to receive them.

Unlike other dental treatment options, implants are not difficult to maintain. Like with your regular teeth, you should brush and floss regularly to keep your gums healthy and free of plaque buildup. You should also visit a dentist twice yearly for regular cleanings and checkups. Additionally, it’s important that you don’t use tobacco products or take medications that could compromise the success of your dental implant.

It’s important to visit your dentist regularly to check the condition of your dental implant. Your dentist will examine the implant, the surrounding bone, and gum tissue for any signs of problems such as infection or bone loss. We recommend scheduling an examination every six months to allow your dentist to check if your implant is functioning properly and that no complications have occurred.

 

Dr. Rachit Shah

Author

Dr. Rachit Shah

Dr. Rachit Shah has a caring and holistic approach to your healthcare. He brings a gentle and modern approach to dentistry; one aimed to create a painless and anxiety-free experience whilst using conservative methods to create long-lasting and highly aesthetic smiles.

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