Dental implants are a popular tooth restoration option for patients missing one or more teeth. Unlike dentures or bridges, which rest on top of the gums, dental implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone. This provides a more secure and natural-looking solution for missing teeth. 

One of the most common questions patients ask our dental team when considering their missing tooth replacement options is: ‘Do dental implants last forever?’ The answer depends on several factors, including your oral hygiene habits, oral health and the quality of the implant.

 

Why Dental Implants Last Longer Than Other Missing Teeth Solutions?

With proper care, a dental implant can easily last a lifetime due to a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration is the process by which the implant fuses to the jawbone. This gives the implant added strength and stability. 

It also helps prevent bone loss and tissue deterioration around the implant site. Osseointegration is a vital part of dental implants, so it’s essential to choose an experienced implant dentist who can ensure that the implant is placed correctly and that osseointegration is successful.

 

 

Do Dental Implants Last Forever? The Components of Dental Implants

A dental implant is made up of three main parts. Different parts of the dental implant have various lifespans; while the implant post can last a lifetime, the restoration may need to be replaced. 

The three parts of a dental implant are:

 

  • Implant Post

The implant post is a metal rod surgically inserted into the jawbone. This is the part of the dental implant that fuses to the bone during osseointegration. The implant post is made of titanium, a durable metal that is well tolerated by the body.

The implant post is typically coated in a biocompatible film and growth factors to help facilitate osseointegration and form a firm foundation for the restoration.

 

  • Abutment

The abutment is the connector piece that attaches the implant post to the dental crown or other restoration. The abutment is usually made of titanium but can also be made of gold or ceramic. 

The abutment is placed after the implant post fuses to the jawbone, and the gum tissue has healed. 

 

  • Restoration

The restoration is the part of the dental implant that is visible above the gum line. The restoration can be a dental crown, bridge, or denture. It is usually made of porcelain or ceramic but can also be made of gold or other metals. The average lifespan of dental restoration is 5 to 7 years.

 

Do Dental Implants Last Forever? Factors That Affect Implant Longevity

If you are looking for a long-term solution to replace missing or severely damaged teeth, you may be considering dental implants. They look and feel like natural teeth and maintain your jaw’s natural shape, but several factors can affect their viability.   

 

  • Implant Post Length and Diameter

Choosing the appropriate post length and diameter can increase the implant’s longevity. The ideal implant length is typically 12 mm to 16 mm. The greater the bite force and the softer the jawbone, the longer the implant requirements. 

The width is directly related to the functional surface area, so where the bone is less dense or bite force is greater, the implant is usually between 3 mm and 6 mm.  

 

  • Implant Position

The position of an implant within the dental arch can have a significant impact on its longevity. Incisor and canine implants located at the front of the mouth tend to last longer than molar and premolar implants. 

A 2017 retrospective study demonstrated that posterior implants in both the maxillary and mandibular arches have higher failure rates than anterior implants. Posterior implants failed in 3.3% of cases, while anterior implants had a 1% failure rate. 

 

  • Bone Quality

Poor osseointegration is a primary cause of implant failure. Dental implants require adequate depth and density of jaw bone to support the implant post and encourage osseointegration. Your dentist will perform digital scans and X-rays during your initial consultation to assess your jawbone health. 

If you have insufficient jawbone, your dentist may prescribe a bone graft or sinus lift procedure to improve the jaw bone quality before you undergo dental implant surgery. 

 

  • Oral Hygiene

affecting factors implant teeth dubboProper oral hygiene is essential for the longevity of dental implants. Although the restoration and the implant do not degrade, the adjacent teeth and the surrounding gum tissue are vulnerable to infection and damage from poor oral health. If the gum tissue supporting the implant deteriorates, the implant can loosen and may need to be replaced. 

Brush your teeth twice daily with an electric toothbrush—floss using a threader, interdental brush, or Waterpik to access hard-to-reach places around the implant. Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

 

  • Lifestyle Habits

Your lifestyle habits can also affect the longevity of your dental implant. Smoking, for example, has been shown to increase the risk of implant failure. This is because smoking can damage the bone and gum tissue, making it difficult for the implant to fuse to the jawbone. 

If you are a smoker, it is important to quit before having implant surgery. Also, avoid habits that can damage the teeth, such as using your teeth as tools or clenching and grinding your teeth.

 

Get a Free Consultation at Your Local Dental Clinic in Dubbo

Are you looking for a dentist that offers free consultation? At Advanced Dental Care, we believe everyone deserves access to quality dental care, which is why we offer free consultations to all our patients. 

An experienced dentist will examine your teeth and gums during your consultation and develop a treatment plan tailored specifically for you. If you want a free dental consultation near you in Dubbo, schedule an appointment by calling with us on (02) 6188 7103 today.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

 

 

References 

Osseointegration: An Update
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3602536

Smoking and dental implants
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3894084/

 

 

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