Dental implants are considered to be the highest quality tooth replacement option. There are many reasons for this:
- Dental implants look and function as closely as possible to your natural teeth.
- They help to preserve the bone health in your jaw.
- They can act as anchors for dental bridges and dentures.
- Dental implants won’t damage or require alteration of the neighboring teeth.
- They keep the other teeth in proper alignment that may otherwise shift when a tooth is missing.
But in addition to those benefits, dental implants have been proven to last a long time. This is an important characteristic of dental implants because it helps to justify their cost. How long do dental implants last? Here’s a general idea.
Average Lifespan of a Dental Implant
Dental implants can last a lifetime. Once a dental implant is placed and it forms a solid bond with the jaw bone, it can stay in place for the rest of your life.
What Are Dental Implants and How Do They Work?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root system. It completely replaces a natural tooth right down to the root. An implant consists of a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jaw bone. Titanium is a biocompatible metal that fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration. Once the implant is fully bonded with the jaw bone, which can take a few months, it forms a solid hold that can last for a lifetime. Then a porcelain crown is attached to the top for a natural look and function.
Does the Crown Last as Long as the Root?
The crown portion of a dental implant may only last 10-15 years. The crown is typically made of porcelain, which is an extremely strong material. But after bearing the brunt of the chewing force for a decade or more, it may start to show signs of wear. The crown may crack, chip, or simply wear down and affect the bite. The good news is that replacing just the crown portion of a dental implant is a much less expensive procedure than getting a dental implant placed the first time.
What Can Cause a Dental Implant to Fail?
In rare cases a dental implant may not last a lifetime. There are a few different reasons that an implant could fail:
- Improper placement. For an implant to be successful, it must be placed at the right angle and depth. Accuracy plays a big part, which is why you should see an experienced dentist who uses current technology for dental implant placement.
- Lack of bone density. If the jaw bone is not thick enough or strong enough to support a dental implant, it could fail. Your dentist should do a thorough screening of your jaw bone to determine whether or not it can support an implant before attempting to place one.
- Decreasing bone health. In some cases a patient’s bone health decreases long after the dental implant was placed. This can be due to osteoporosis or another health condition that causes weakening of the bones.
- Gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue that can cause the support structure for the teeth to deteriorate. This can cause natural teeth and dental implants to come loose from the jaw.
- Poor oral hygiene. When you don’t keep your teeth and mouth clean, you are more likely to develop gum disease, which can lead to dental implant failure. Poor oral hygiene can also cause the implant site to become infected resulting in peri-implantitis.
- Trauma. An injury to the jaw can cause a dental implant to become dislodged.
- Smoking. Smoking restricts the blood vessels in the soft tissues of the mouth which can decrease oral health and increase the risk of implant failure.
What Can I Do to Help My Implant Last as Long as Possible?
There are some steps you can take to help your dental implant last for the rest of your life, including:
- Brush and floss your teeth daily.
- Avoid smoking.
- Go to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Get a Long-Lasting Dental Implant at Gold Coast Smiles
If you’re looking for a tooth replacement option that will last, Gold Coast Smiles provides dental implants. We use guided placement technology to ensure your dental implant goes in at the right angle and depth for long lasting results.