Do dental implants last forever? It’s a pertinent question to ask if you consider this treatment to replace any of your missing teeth. After all, it isn’t a cheap option, so you’ll want to know whether you will need to replace your dental implants at some point in the future. The good news is that dental implants can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly, but get a free consultation at your local dental clinic to find out more.
To understand how long dental implants last, it’s beneficial to talk about what they are. Let’s take a look,
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, typically made from titanium and surgically placed into the jawbone, where it acts as an anchor for a replacement tooth. A dental crown is attached to the top of the implant, and together they form a strong, stable, permanent tooth replacement that mimics a natural tooth in terms of function and aesthetics. Implants are designed to last, but they aren’t invincible. Some circumstances can compromise the implant’s health so that it doesn’t last as long and may even result in its failure.
So, do dental implants last forever? The answer is no. But, the implants themselves have a lifespan of 20-30 years, and when looked after correctly can last a patient’s lifetime. However, most dental crowns need to be replaced around the 15-year mark.
What Affects How Long A Dental Implant Lasts?
It’s always a good idea to visit a dentist that offers a free consultation to find out if you are a suitable candidate for implants and if you have any medical conditions that could jeopardise how long they last.
Meanwhile, here are some situations that can have a detrimental effect on dental implants.
Poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of dental implant failure. Bacteria thrive on the dental plaque that forms when teeth aren’t correctly cleaned, leading to gum disease. If it isn’t treated early, gum disease progresses to periodontal disease that affects the jawbone and tooth ligaments, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
Unfortunately, a similar disease affecting dental implants called peri-implantitis, can lead to implant failure. So, you must have a twice-daily brushing and flossing routine to remove plaque and debris from your mouth. Getting implants also means you must retain good oral hygiene habits for the rest of your life; otherwise, the plaque may damage the tissue surrounding your implant and cause it to fail prematurely.
Do dental implants last forever if you smoke? Definitely not. Smoking is bad for many health reasons, but did you know it’s also bad for your oral health? Smoking, chewing tobacco, and using smokeless tobacco can significantly increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do if you have dental implants. It can lower the success rate of the dental implant procedure – not only in the early days following placement but throughout the rest of your life.
Blood transports essential nutrients around the body that are necessary for cell growth and fighting infections. Smoking lowers blood flow which means the healing process following your implant surgery could be slower, leaving you susceptible to infection and implant failure.
Smoking also causes inflammation of the gums. So, even if the implant is successfully placed and has healed, your gums are likely to be inflamed through smoking. Eventually, this can lead to infection and peri-implantitis, impacting how long your dental implant will survive.
Certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions can affect how long dental implants last. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or osteoporosis, can increase the risk of implants failing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot have a dental implant if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But, your situation will need to be monitored closely, and you may have to take extra care to ensure it doesn’t affect your implant.
For instance, one of the complications of diabetes is that it leads to a reduction in saliva. As this is your mouth’s first line of defence in washing away the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease, your mouth and, therefore, implant are more susceptible to infection. So, you will have to take extra precautions to keep your mouth healthy to ensure your dental implants continue to last a long time.
Your oral health
As well as your general health, the condition of your mouth and jawbone will affect how long a dental implant lasts. Patients with a history of gum disease need to be extra vigilant with their dental implants. Maintaining an effective cleaning and flossing routine supplemented with regular check-ups as often as their dentist recommends is vital.
There is a thorough examination process for anyone wishing to have a dental implant—and only suitable candidates can have the implant procedure. This is why it has such a high success rate. But even if you have bone loss in the jawbone or other oral health issues, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have implants later.
Your dentist can treat gum disease to restore oral health, and bone grafting can increase the bone density to support an implant to give it a fighting chance of survival.
Do Dental Implants Last Forever? – The Bottom Line
A dental implant might not last forever, but it can last a long time. At Beyond Infinity Dental Care, we provide digital dental implants utilising sophisticated CAD/CAM technology. Surgery is faster, more precise and more comfortable, and since there are no stitches, it doesn’t take patients long to recover.
If you want to find out more, schedule a free dental consultation near you call us at Infinity Dental Care clinic on (02) 9159 6237.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Mayo Clinic: Periodontitis
Nobel Biocare: What is peri-implantitis and how can it be treated?
BMC Oral Health – The survival rates and risk factors of implants in the early stage: a retrospective study