Home HEALTH The Lifespan of Dental Implants: How Long Do They Last?
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The Lifespan of Dental Implants: How Long Do They Last?

The Lifespan of Dental Implants

A dental implant is a long-term solution to replace a tooth that is missing or damaged. The dental implant procedure involves inserting an artificial structure into the jawbone, which serves as an anchor for the crown, an artificial tooth.

Dental implants have several advantages over dentures. For example, dental implants are more comfortable with a natural appearance, and they improve chewing function while reducing the risk of jawbone loss and cavities.

The relatively long lifespan of dental implants is another advantage. This post discusses the lifespan of dental implants and the steps patients can take to benefit from this treatment for as long as possible.

What Is the Life Expectancy of Dental Implants?

A dental implant can last anything from 10 to 30 years, which means it is the tooth replacement treatment with the most extended lifespan.

The longevity of dental implants is due to their design and construction. A dental implant has three components: the implant root, abutment, and crown.

The implant is a threaded post of titanium that looks like a screw. The dentist surgically places this implant into the jawbone, serving as an anchor for the crown. Because titanium is biocompatible, the jawbone will fuse with the dental implant through osseointegration, which takes a few months but ensures a long-lasting bond.

Crowns Have Shorter Lifespans Than Dental Implants

Once the dental implant root has fused with the jawbone, your dentist will attach the abutment, which connects the artificial root with the crown. The crown has a durable porcelain construction but looks like a natural tooth.

The previous section mentioned that a dental implant, the root component, can last up to 30 years. However, a crown has a significantly shorter lifespan and typically lasts up to 15 years. That said, crowns are more affordable than dental implants. Attaching a crown is not as invasive as a dental implant procedure.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Dental Implants

Only some people are candidates for dental implants. Dentists typically only recommend this oral surgery to patients with sufficient jawbone mass and healthy gums. Additionally, patients must be in overall good health to minimize the risk of complications and infection.

After receiving this surgery, various factors determine the life expectancy of the dental implants:

Dental Hygiene

Dental implants and crowns require the same dental care as your natural teeth. Your dental care routine should include brushing and flossing twice daily and a dental visit every six months.

Proper dental care minimizes your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can shorten dental implants’ life expectancy. For example, missing teeth and periodontal disease, or chronic gum tissue infection, causes jawbone loss which, in turn, results in dental implant failure.

Lifestyle Factors

Poor lifestyle choices, especially in the early stage of dental implant treatment, can shorten the lifespan of dental implants. Smoking is a significant risk factor as it restricts the supply of blood and oxygen to the surgical site, slowing the recovery process. A smoker also has a higher risk of bacterial plaque build-up, gum disease, and infection, which can shorten the implants’ life expectancy.

Health Concerns

Osseointegration is the process of jawbone ingrowth with the dental implant. Healthy osseointegration maximizes the implant’s life expectancy by ensuring sufficient jawbone integration and anchoring.

However, in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, bone-to-implant contact can decrease over time.

Osteoporosis is another condition that can affect osseointegration and cause problems with the implant in the long haul. However, a patient with osteoporosis may be a candidate for dental implants, depending on the severity of the condition.

Trauma or Injury

Injuries are a common cause of damage to dental implants. Biting toffees and hard-boiled sweets can damage dental implants, especially during osseointegration. Similarly, patients who use their teeth as tools for opening cans or plastic packaging often suffer implant damage.

In some cases, injuries are beyond patients’ control. However, suppose a sport or car accident injury only damages the crown portion of the implant, and the titanium root remains intact. In this case, an implant replacement may not be necessary.

Final Thoughts

Proper dental care is crucial to maximizing your dental implants’ life expectancy. Maintaining a proper dental care routine and healthy lifestyle will go a long way to ensure that your new dental implants last several decades.

When considering dental implants, choose a reputable dentist with extensive experience in this procedure. You should also follow your dentist’s instructions to speed up recovery and ensure proper implant integration.

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