The most natural-appearing option in tooth restoration for missing teeth is a dental implant. The design is similar to a tooth, with a titanium “root” that is connected to the jawbone. While dental implants can look and function like natural teeth, many people wonder whether they are worth the investment. How long do dental implants last? Do dental implants last forever? Here is what you need to know about the longevity of dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants use a titanium post that is inserted into the jaw bone. The post is made to adhere to the bone – over several months, bone grows around the post and secures it permanently in place. Dental implants can be used to replace single teeth using an abutment and crown that is place on the titanium post. The new tooth is designed to look and feel natural and fit perfectly with the rest of a patient’s teeth. Dental implants can also be used to support dental bridges or dentures, keeping dental prosthetics in place.
How Long Do Tooth Implants Last?
Dental tooth implants are designed to last a lifetime. The success rate of dental implants is 95% or higher, making them an excellent choice for tooth restorations. In the right circumstances, a dental implant can last for 25 years or longer. However, this refers to the titanium post that is implanted into the jawbone, not the abutment, crown or other dental prosthetics that are attached to the implant. The dental prosthetics, like crowns, bridges or dentures, may need replacement every 10-15 years or sooner.
Do dental implants last forever? Forever is a long time, and even natural teeth do not last forever. There are many factors that contribute to the longevity of dental implants. In ideal circumstances, a dental implant can last for decades. However, many people who need a dental implant have pre-existing conditions that contributed to the loss of their teeth. Oral and overall health can impact how long a dental implant lasts, and there are other dynamics that can affect the lifespan of a tooth implant.
Factors That Affect Dental Implant Longevity
Once a dental implant adheres to the jawbone, it can last as long as it stays in place. Titanium does not weaken over time, but the bone and surrounding tissue can diminish. There are several factors that can result in a dental implant loosening, requiring for it to be removed or restored. Understanding the risk factors can help patients improve the longevity of their tooth implants with preventive measures.
- Oral Hygiene
- Dental implants need healthy gums and bone to stay in place. Oral hygiene is a key factor in the longevity of dental implants. While a tooth implant will not decay like a natural tooth, brushing, flossing and routine dentist visits can help maintain healthy gums to minimize tissue and bone loss in the mouth. Routine dental visits can also catch issues early to avoid serious complications.
- Dental Implant Placement
- Not all teeth are under the same strain or pressure. Back teeth must endure more pressure from chewing and clenching of the jaw. Dental implants on front teeth can last longer than dental implants in the back of the mouth due to less wear and tear.
- Health Conditions
- Beyond oral health, certain health conditions can impact how long dental implants last. Diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and other diseases can impact overall health, bone density and circulation, which can result in a shorter lifespan for dental implants. You should discuss your medical history with your dentist to determine if any of your health conditions could affect the longevity of your tooth implants.
- Lifestyle Choices
- Smoking tobacco or other substances can impact your oral health and contribute to many health problems. Many dentists may not perform dental implant surgery if a patient smokes cigarettes or uses chewing tobacco due to the poor results. Other lifestyle choices like excessive alcohol use or recreational drugs use can affect the gums, bone and dental implants.
- Experience of the Dentist
- Dental implants require expertise to ensure proper placement to help them last as long as possible. The skill and experience of the dental professional who performs the surgery can have an impact on the longevity of dental implants. It is important to choose a dentist that specializes in dental implants to ensure you get the best possible results from your surgery.
How long do dental implants last? It can vary from person to person, but there is a possibility that they can last for the rest of your life. Whether you are looking to replace one missing tooth with a dental implant and crown, or you are considering tooth implants for full mouth reconstruction, you want to ensure your investment will last for many years. To learn more about the longevity of dental implants and how they can improve your smile and oral health, contact a dentist who specializes in dental implant dentistry.