Dental implants are a great method of replacing missing teeth to create a healthy smile and not only give your confidence a boost but also benefit the structure of the face and mouth. When teeth are missing, it can cause a host of dental and health issues such as teeth drifting, loss of bone, and a lesser quality of life. Unfortunately, dental implants don’t come cheap so it’s hardly surprising that one of the questions we’re most often asked is “how long does a dental implant last?”
Before answering the question, let’s take a closer look at dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants provide a permanent solution to missing teeth and are the closest thing to natural teeth that modern dentistry has to offer. An implant consists of 3 parts
- A titanium post that is inserted into the jaw during dental implant surgery and supports a prosthetic tooth (dental crown)
- An abutment that connects the crown to the post and also absorbs the pressure from biting and chewing
- A dental crown or (in the case of multiple missing teeth) a bridge or denture
Following dental implant surgery, healing and recovery time is needed for the implant post and the surrounding bone to fuse in a natural process known as osseointegration. This is a vital element of the dental implant procedure since it serves to stabilise the implant in the jaw and gives it the strength to support a prosthesis. It’s also a determining factor for the success of a dental implant, which we’ll explain a little later when we answer the question “how long does a dental implant last?”
Once osseointegration has occurred, the abutment can be placed in another short bout of dental implant surgery (although sometimes it is attached at the same time as the implant post). A couple of weeks later, once the gums have healed the implant is topped with a dental crown, resulting in a natural-looking whole smile.
So what are the benefits of dental implants?
Replacing missing teeth is essential to maintain oral health and dental implants. They…
- Restore aesthetics and confidence
- Are a permanent fixture in the mouth that will not slip like dentures
- Halt any bone loss that occurs following tooth loss
- Have a bite force comparable to natural teeth which means patients can eat all types of food without compromise
- Prevent jaw shrinkage and help retain facial structures
So, how long does a dental implant last?
You may have read that implants can last a lifetime but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will last your lifetime.
Provided they’re well cared for, dental implants have the potential to last for 20 years or longer.
The implant post has the potential to last indefinitely since it is made from a highly durable metal but the dental crown is likely to need replacing anywhere between 10 and 15 years.
Why your implants may fail?
The two main causes of implant failure are failed osseointegration and peri-implantitis.
Implants can fail within weeks of dental implant surgery, months, or several years down the line.
To be successful, dental implants must be placed into healthy dense bone because like natural teeth, they rely on the bone for support. Implants act like natural tooth roots, anchoring the replacement tooth or teeth to the bone while providing stimulation that keeps the bone healthy and dense.
Failed osseointegration occurs when the bone doesn’t grow around the implant to make it secure. This can be due to the quality of the bone, whether or not a bone graft was used and whether a person smokes. People with chronic health conditions such as osteoporosis, auto-immune disorders, diabetes and cancer may have a higher risk of implant failure. On occasions, it may be a lack of experience that causes implant failure which is why it’s essential to choose a highly experienced implant dentist that regularly places implants.
Peri-implantitis is another leading cause of dental implant failure. Gum disease, if not treated promptly, can escalate into peri-implantitis which inflames the tissue around the implant causing the gums to recede and the bone to deteriorate and erode. This causes the implant to loosen and your dentist may struggle to save it. This is why it’s so important to maintain good oral hygiene which includes brushing and flossing combined with regular dental check-ups and cleans.
Other lifestyle habits such as teeth grinding and smoking can affect the longevity of your dental implants. Your dentist is likely to recommend a nightguard if you regularly grind or clench your teeth and quitting smoking will also help your investment last longer.
Finally, the location of your implant may also affect its lifespan. For example, implants located in the back of the mouth will receive more pressure from chewing which could cause them to fail more quickly.
So hopefully, that has answered your question “how long does a dental implant last?” If you’d like to know more about dental implants and whether they’re the best treatment for you, why not schedule a free dental implant consultation with the experienced friendly team at DDSS/DDII. We provide the latest digital dental implants to make dental implant surgery faster, more precise, and more comfortable for patients. Without the need for sutures, patients heal faster and require fewer dental visits.
Whether you need to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all of your teeth we’re here to help. To make dental implants more affordable for our patients we provide a variety of finance payment plans. We also offer patients a full guarantee that if the implant (for whatever reason) fails within 1 year – we’ll replace it free of charge. Book online or call us on (02) 8294 5812.
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.