A: Dental Implants can last upwards of 20, 30—40 years. Really, we generally look at the implant’s success rate. So, comparatively, in all of dentistry, dental implants have some of the highest success rates out there. Usually at 95-98% success after about 10 years. What does that mean? That means 98 out of 100 of them are still in the mouth at 10 years. Comparatively, root canals are closer to 90% and crowns are actually closer to about 75-80%. Bridgework can be downwards of about 50%. So, the great thing about dental implants is their high success rate. This means they should last us for decades to come.
What Makes Dental Implants Last So Long?
A dental implant is an optimal solution for one or more missing teeth because it is a permanent, long-term solution. How long-term are we talking? As Dr. Vela mentioned, upwards of 40 years is very realistic with proper oral care and hygiene.
One of the main reasons why dental implants last so long is an obvious one—because they’re designed to. Dental implants are made of extremely durable materials that are designed exclusively for each patient. This means that the mechanics of chewing, speaking, and biting are precise, and everything fits to perfection. Unlike dentures that wear down over time because of alignment issues, implants are permanently affixed to your jaw.
Components Of A Dental Implant
To fully understand the precision and quality that goes into dental implant design, we must look at the components that comprise dental implants:
- Implant— The implant is a titanium post that is implanted into the jawbone and acts as a root for the new crown. Titanium contributes greatly to the lifespan of implants due to its bio-compatible makeup. Your body accepts the titanium and your jawbone bonds with it and it becomes part of you. Titanium will not rust, corrode, and is stronger than bone—giving it a very long lifespan.
- Abutment— The abutment is what is fastened to the implants and allows the implant to securely be mounted and look like a natural tooth.
- Crown— The crown is the visible part of the tooth you see—natural or prosthetic. It is created from advanced materials that are as durable as natural teeth and will not rot.
When considering the risk of damaging your implants it is the abutment and the crown that stand a small chance to be damaged. The implant itself is extremely hard to damage due to its incredible strength and anchoring into the jawbone.
Wild Cards For Dental Implant Failure
Now, despite the favorable statistics of success in functionality and bio-compatibility—they can still fail prematurely. It should be duly noted that the only reasons dental implants last a significantly shorter time reside solely with the patient.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions—Patients that have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, or calcium deficiencies may have higher risks of failure. Diabetes for example may cause implants to fail very quickly due to diabetic’s trouble healing wounds. Diabetes may prevent the implant from bonding due to the surgery site not healing which can then lead into an infection.
Unhealthy Lifestyles—Some lifestyle choices also can slow healing and lead to a weak implant. Smoking is one such lifestyle that severely stunts the healing process. Smokers are far more likely to suffer an infection or a failure than a non-smoker.
Bad dental habits are also a major bad habit that can lead to failure. While dental implants do not rot, that does not mean proper oral care isn’t necessary. Gum disease is still a very prominent risk and it too can cause implants to fail. It is very important to maintain proper oral hygiene just as you would with natural teeth. In fact, dental implant materials and technology have advanced so far that failure is almost always due to patient variables. Also, make sure you get bi-annual check-ups at your dentist to ensure all is going well and to ward off any potential issues.
Do You Need Dental Implants?
If you are considering dental implants, you should come by and see Dr. Vela. He will answer all of your questions regarding your situation and see how implants can restore your smile. All you need to do is contact us to schedule your free consultation and you will be on your way. At Vela Dental our professional implant team will make sure your dental implants last a lifetime—just like your smile. Contact us today!