Are you considering getting a dental implant? Dental implants are known as the best quality tooth replacement option. If you have a tooth that is damaged beyond repair, an implant can replace it. Dental implants can replace multiple teeth and serve as anchors for bridges and dentures.
One of the biggest questions patients have is how long do dental implants last? Here’s what you can expect in the long term.
Dental Implants Can Last a Lifetime
While there’s no guarantee, most dental implants can last for a lifetime. Some sources will say they last 30-50 years, which may be the rest of your life depending on when you get your implant placed. But once it is implanted and settles into place, it is there for the long haul.
Why Do Dental Implants Last So Long?
To understand why implants are capable of remaining in place for a lifetime, it helps to know how they work.
A dental implant is a complete artificial tooth and root system. It completely replaces your existing tooth, root and crown. The implant root is made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material. Once it is placed in the jaw bone, the titanium fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration. This forms a solid bond that is extremely strong. It is just as strong, if not stronger, than your natural tooth and root.
Once the implant has fused with the bone, the abutment and crown can be attached to the top. The abutment is the post that extends up from the implant root for the crown to attach. The crown is the artificial tooth portion that sits above the gum line. It is typically made of porcelain, which is very strong and closely resembles tooth enamel. Once your mouth has had time to heal, you’ll have the same bite strength with your implant as you would have with a healthy tooth.
The Crown Portion May Not Last as Long
While the root portion of the implant can last forever, the crown portion may not. Although it is made of strong porcelain, the crown will bear the brunt of the biting and chewing force over the years. It may wear down or even crack or chip at some point and need to be replaced. You can expect that your crown may only last 15 years, which is still a long time.
What Can Cause an Implant to Fail?
In rare cases a dental implant will fail. This could be due to variety of reasons, such as:
- Improper placement. If the implant is not placed properly the first time, it can fail to fuse with the bone and become loose. An implant must be carefully guided into place at the right location and angle.
- Bone health issues. If there is a lack of sufficient bone density in your jaw, the implant may not stay in place. Degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis can cause the bone to weaken and shrink, causing your implant to loosen or fall out.
- Gum disease. Severe gum disease can eventually cause the support structure for your teeth to deteriorate, which includes the jaw bone and gum tissue. If gum disease goes untreated, your dental implant could become loose along with other natural teeth.
- Smoking. Smoking has many negative effects on your oral health. Smoking reduces the blood flow to your gum tissue, which can slow the healing process after your dental implant. The implant root may fail to fuse with the bone and never form the solid bond that is required for successful tooth replacement.
What Can I Do to Prolong the Life of My Dental Implant?
If you want your dental implant to last forever, some of the responsibility is yours. Be sure to see your dentist every 6 months for teeth cleaning and oral exams. This keeps your teeth free of plaque and tartar that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Avoid smoking and using chewing tobacco. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Call your dentist right away if you experience any problems with your dental implant. The sooner you let them know, the better the chances that your implant can be saved.
Implants from Rosewood Dental Offer Lifelong Benefits
Proper placement of your dental implant is one of the most important elements of success. Rosewood Dental uses guided placement technology to ensure your implant goes in at the right location and angle. We evaluate the health of your implant at every routine dental visit to ensure that it is in shape to last for the rest of your life.