How Long Do Dental Implants Last

How Long Do Dental Implants Last | Are They Permanent?

Dental implants, in simple words, are structures that facilitate long-term tooth replacement of missing or damaged teeth. These implants can bring back the smile, confidence, and support to your mouth and face. But how long do dental implants last?

Though dental implants are designed as a permanent fixture in your mouth, these implants have shown a great success rate over ten years. Their lifespan depends on your care of the implant and oral hygiene.

A dental implant may fail within months or years after its placement because of various factors. Within this post, I’ll be exploring different aspects of dental implants— their types, factors affecting their lifespan, and risk factors for implant failures.

Types of Dental Implants

Endosteal Implants

These are the most common dental implants available—made up of titanium (sometimes made of ceramics) and look like cylinders.

These implants are fused directly into your jawbone through surgery in a multistep procedure. In the first step, implants are placed in the jawbone and left for healing. An abutment (a metal post) is used to attach the prosthetic tooth with the implant.

To lay down a stronger foundation, your dentist may perform additional procedures: bone grafts, sinus lift, and ridge expansion.

Subperiosteal Implants

These subperiosteal implants are designed for those who lack a healthy jawbone or don’t want to undergo additional processes like bone grafts before placing the implants. 

The placement of these implants is a multistep procedure. The first step involves taking the impression of the jawbone so that the implant fits perfectly. Then the metal frame of the implant is installed over your jawbone, which can later be used for the crown’s attachment. 

The Lifespan of Dental Implants

Before we go any further, it is essential to understand how a dental implant is integrated into your mouth. The dental implant is fused into your jawbone and becomes part of bone tissue via a process known as osseointegration.

The osseointegration process makes the implant an artificial tooth root, where a prosthetic tooth—a crown— can attach itself.

Though it seems the dental implants will last forever, about 50-80 percent of crowns may require replacements in 15 to 20 years due to normal wear and tear.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of Dental Implants

Several factors can reduce the lifespan of implants; these include:

  • Oral Health
  • Lifestyle
  • Injury
  • Medical Conditions
  • Location of Implant in the Mouth

When Does a Dental Implant Fail? | Signs & Causes

Sometimes a dental implant failure can happen when the osseointegration or recovery process is interrupted due to several contributing factors. 

Signs of an Implant Failure

Here are some potential signs of implant failure:

  • Unstable Implant
  • Pain sensation while chewing or biting
  • Peri-Implantitis symptoms around the implant:
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Receding Gums
  • Pus

Note: If you are experiencing any symptoms of a failing implant, see your periodontist or doctor. 

Factors Contributing To Implant Failure

These are the factors that contribute to implant failure:

#1 Oral Hygiene

If you don’t maintain good oral hygiene, it will affect the implants in the same way as it does to your actual teeth. The plaque buildup as a result of poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease.

The accumulation of plaque may affect the area around the implant— a condition known as peri-implant disease. 

At first, the peri-implant disease is reversible but, left untreated, it can lead to a more severe condition— peri-implantitis, causing an implant failure.

To prevent these complications, all you need is to practice good oral hygiene. It includes:

  • Brushing Twice a Day
  • Daily flossing
  • Avoid sugary foods.
  • Schedule a visit to the dentist (every six months)

#2 Insufficient Bone

For the endosteal implants, the jawbone plays a vital role in anchoring the implant—the possibility of an implant failing increases if there is insufficient jawbone available.

After thorough inspection using X-rays and 3D modeling, some patients undergo additional procedures like bone grafting or sinus lifting before having an endosteal implant.

Due to various reasons, bone loss may occur, which can also cause implant failure. 

#4 Medical Conditions

Medical conditions can contribute to dental implant failure. Some of these medical conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weak Immune System
  • Bleeding Disorder
  • Cardiovascular Disorders

#5 Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding— or occlusal trauma—can have severe effects on the implant. It can contribute to the fracture of the implant, screw, or porcelain on the crown— by disturbing the osseointegration process with continuous movements of the implant.

#6 Age

Older adults have some underlying medical or bone conditions that may likely fail the dental implant.

#7 Inexperienced Surgeon

The experience of the surgeon is essential for a successful dental implant. If the surgeon is inexperienced, it can increase the possibility of implant failure via:  

  • Implants are poorly designed
  • The placement of implants is not proper
  • Induce a tissue trauma during implant placement
  • Attachment of crown to the unstable implant

#8 Location of the Implant

If the dental implant has to be located at the back of the mouth, it is more likely to fail because chewing pressure is more intense at the back of the mouth than at the front.

#9 Smoking

Smoking can significantly reduce the success rate of the implant. It can negatively affect osseointegration and also cause gum disease.

Treatment for Failed Implant

You can remove the failed implant and replace it with another implant, though the success rate is below 75 percent.

If replacement is not possible, you can use either dental bridges or dentures.

Peri-implantitis can be treated without removing the implant by cleaning and decontaminating it and the surrounding area. You may also get administered with the course of antibiotics.

FAQs

What are mini dental implants (MDIs), and are they permanent?

Mini dental implants (MDIs) are much narrower than other dental implants, not more than a toothpick—less than 3 millimeters in diameter. Their smaller size makes them a suitable choice where there is less available bone.

MDIs last no longer than standard dental implants.

What are the main differences between dentures and dental implants?

Implants are permanent and planted via a more invasive strategy (require to be placed directly into the jawbone).

On the contrary, dentures are removable and can easily be fitted irrespective of the available bone.

Dental implants are more expensive than dentures.

Takeaway

Dental implants are designed to present a permanent solution to missing or damaged teeth. With the help of osseointegration, these implants become part of your jawbone.

However, the lifespan of an implant depends upon various factors that can cause wear and tear and reduce the longevity of the implant.

Implants may also fail, contributed by several factors. Consult your periodontist or doctor if you have any implant failure.

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