How long do dental implants last?

Structure of dental implants

Dental implants are a great option for replacement of a missing tooth or teeth. Most dental implants contain a metal body inserted into the jawbone, an attachment referred to as an abutment, and a crown that serves as the artificial replacement tooth. Dental implants become fused to your jawbone through a process called osseointegration, which allows for normal chewing, speech, and function just like a natural tooth.

Dental Implants Inner Image

How long do dental implants last?

In general, dental implants are meant to be permanent. According to Healthline, studies have shown that the success rate of dental implants is as high as 90-95% over a 10-year period. Yet, it is possible that the implant may need to be replaced overtime due to many factors. In fact, Bader and Shugars in General Dentistry reported that approximately 50-80% of crowns may need replacing after 15 to 20 years. Implants may fail due to various factors such as inadequate oral hygiene, insufficient bone surrounding the implant, smoking, teeth grinding, dental trauma, medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, osteoporosis, bleeding disorders, cardiovascular disease), certain medications and treatments (i.e. immunosuppressants, blood-thinners, radiation therapy), or an inexperienced surgeon.

How to prolong the life of a dental implant?

There are several steps you can take to help lower the risk of implant failure. Good oral hygiene is one of the main keys to avoiding implant issues. Make sure you are carefully brushing and flossing around the dental implant to remove bacteria and reduce inflammation. Plus, a fluoride containing antibacterial mouth rinse is a great addition to your oral routine for healthy gums and teeth. Avoid habits that can cause harm to your teeth, such as smoking, chewing ice, teeth grinding, and high sugar diets. It is also important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Be sure to inform your dental professionals of any changes to your medical history and current medications.

Symptoms of a failing implant

One of the most common tell-tale signs of dental implant failure is mobility of the implant. Other signs and symptoms can include pain, swelling, trouble chewing, bleeding gums, gum recession, and infection surrounding the implant. With a thorough clinical exam and radiographs, your dentist will be able to diagnose a failed implant and the presence of bone loss. If you notice any signs or symptoms of a failing implant, be sure to contact your dentist right away.

Treating a failed implant

If your dental implant has failed, your dental professional will determine the appropriate treatment for replacement depending on the cause. If mild inflammation without significant bone loss has occurred surrounding the implant (referred to as peri-implantitis), the implant may be treated without having to remove the implant. This may include a deep cleaning along with antibiotic therapy. If deemed not restorable, the dental implant will be removed using local anesthesia. A bone graft may be necessary prior to replacement of the dental implant if adequate bone is not present. If the site of the failed dental implant cannot be replaced with another implant, your dental professional will discuss other alternatives to replace your missing tooth or teeth, such as dental bridges or dentures.

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