More people are choosing dental implants as a tooth replacement option over dentures and bridges because of their oral health benefits and longevity. However, dental implant surgery is more involved than alternatives, so patients want to ensure dental implants are worth the recovery period and investment before undergoing the procedure.
Dental implants are an excellent solution for long-term tooth replacement. Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth, requiring exactly the same daily oral hygiene regimen and routine dental check-ups. But how long do tooth implants last?
The answer to “how long do tooth implants last?” depends mainly on your chewing habits, the location of the implant in your mouth, and your oral hygiene regimen.
Dental Implants Structure
Dental implants are made of three main components, regardless of the prosthesis. The dental implant rod is made from surgical grade biocompatible titanium that is embedded in your jawbone. It is threaded to encourage osseointegration which is the process of the implant fusing to your jawbone. The implant mimics a natural tooth root that anchors your prosthesis.
Inside the implant is a hollow area designed to fit the abutment (connector). The abutment is a metal post that screws into the implant rod and extends above the gum line.
The final part is the prosthesis, typically a dental crown, but it may be a bridge or denture depending on the type of dental implant surgery and the number of missing teeth being replaced. The prosthesis attaches to the abutment using dental adhesives or a small screw covered with composite resin.
How Long Do Tooth Implants Last?
Since three components make up a dental implant, each component must be considered when determining how long a tooth implants last.
The implant rod can last at least 25 years or your lifetime with regular brushing and flossing coupled with routine dental cleanings and check-ups. However, the prosthesis and abutment may need to be replaced every 10-15 years due to wear and tear on the exterior surface.
The location of the dental implant in your mouth can affect both the rod and prosthesis’ lifespan because a restoration towards the back of the mouth experiences more force and active chewing. This can cause them to wear out more quickly than dental implants towards the front of your mouth.
When Do Dental Implant-Supported Restorations Need to Be Replaced?
Although dental implant-supported restorations are made from durable materials like ceramic, they can become damaged just like your natural teeth. They typically last 10-15 years before needing a replacement but may need to be replaced sooner, for example, if you grind or clench your teeth.
Other factors like your oral hygiene habits can also impact the longevity of your dental implant-supported restoration. Although dental crowns, bridges and dentures are made from durable materials unaffected by tooth decay, the gums surrounding them can be impacted by gum disease.
Gingivitis and periodontitis cause the gums to become inflamed, separating from the dental implant, causing jawbone deterioration and implant failure.
As long as your dental implant is secure, your dentist can easily replace your restoration by removing it from the abutment.
When Do Dental Implants Need to Be Replaced?
Dental implant surgery has a high success rate of around 95% due to the initial consultation where your dentist ensures you are a candidate and the advancements in dental implant technology and techniques.
In rare cases, dental implant surgery can fail. Your dental implant may need to be replaced if you notice any of the following signs:
- Infection around the dental implant
- Loose dental implants or they fall out
- Sinus problems from the implant touching the sinus cavities
- Tissue or nerve damage
- Inflammed gums and jawbone (peri-implantitis)
How to Avoid Dental Implant Failure?
Although dental implants have the potential to fail or deteriorate, they can last the rest of your life if you take care of them. While oral hygiene plays a significant role in preserving your dental implant, some other factors can affect its longevity, such as the way you use your teeth and even the skill of your dentist who placed the implant.
Avoid using your teeth as tools to open packets, chewing objects like pens, or crushing ice. If you grind your teeth, visit your dentist to be fitted for a custom-made nightguard; a nightguard absorbs the shock of grinding and jaw-clenching to ease the pressure on your teeth.
Reduce your intake of highly pigmented foods and rinse your mouth with clean water after eating or drinking dark-coloured substances. Dental prostheses are typically stain-resistant but can develop mild staining over time, like your natural teeth. Unfortunately, restorations like crowns, bridges, and dentures cannot be professionally whitened.
Get the Smile of Your Dreams with Dental Implant Surgery
Having the smile of your dreams goes beyond how it looks. With dental implants, you can improve your oral health and overall well-being and regain self-confidence.
If you are considering your tooth replacement options, you likely have lots of questions, like, ‘how long do tooth implants last’? We can answer all of your questions and address your concerns at a free dental implant consultation. Contact us today at (02) 6188 7103 and begin your journey to a beautiful and healthy smile.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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