Dental implants offer an excellent solution for those looking for long-term tooth replacement. Looking and functioning just like natural teeth, implants are maintained in the same way. But how long do dental implants last? The quick answer is that it often depends on a patient’s choices and oral hygiene.
Since the first placement of a dental implant in a human volunteer in 1965, advances in dental technology mean that implant failures due to functionality issues or rejection are rare. Nowadays, when an implant does fail, pre-existing medical conditions and diseases and misuse of the dental implant are the most likely culprits.
When you get a consultation at your local dental clinic, a dentist will explain the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene during the procedure and for life.
So, getting back to the question of how long dental implants last. One of the main reasons dental implants have the potential to last a long time is the high quality and durability of the materials involved.
Long-lasting dental implant materials
A dental implant consists of three main components: the screw or post, an abutment, and a dental crown.
The titanium screw embedded into the jawbone is usually made from incredibly durable and long-lasting titanium. Because titanium is biocompatible, it fuses with the surrounding bone to become a permanent fixture in the mouth (osseointegration).
The abutment that connects the implant with the dental crown is usually made from titanium, but other materials like stainless steel may sometimes be used.
The dental crown is a false ceramic tooth mounted onto the abutment, providing a natural tooth’s aesthetic and function.
The abutment and crown are typically more prone to damage and don’t last as long as the dental implant post because they are exposed and used actively for biting and chewing food.
So how long do dental implants last?
With twice-daily brushing and flossing and regular dental check-ups, the implant screw can last a patient’s lifetime. However, according to studies, 50-80% of implant crowns may need to be replaced around the 10-15 year mark due to wear and tear. That said, maintaining excellent oral hygiene and adopting a cautious approach with the dental crown could help it last longer.
Location is also a factor when predicting how long dental implants last. Molar implants at the rear of the mouth are frequently used for chewing food, meaning they may not last as long as implants at the front of the mouth.
What are mini dental implants, and how long should they last?
With a diameter of less than three millimetres, mini dental implants are narrower than other types of dental implants – roughly about the same size as a toothpick!
Because of their diminutive size, mini dental implants (MDIs) can be used in patients suffering from considerable bone loss. MDIs are popular because the technique is more straightforward and less invasive.
Often MDIs are used to secure removable dentures, although they can be used to replace single teeth.
Like regular dental implants, MDIs are designed to be permanent. However, in a systematic review of four studies of MDIs supporting a single crown, researchers found no difference in how long they lasted compared to conventional dental implants.
If you’d like to know more about mini dental implants and whether they can work for you, why not book with an implant dentist that offers a free consultation.
What factors can influence how long a dental implant lasts?
While dental implants may last some people a lifetime, they can sometimes fail. In the main, implant failure typically happens when something disrupts osseointegration or the healing process.
Factors that can cause an implant not to last as long as expected include:
- Insufficient bone – Dental implants, like natural teeth, rely on the bone for support. Dentists often use bone grafts to improve bone density to give the implant a better chance of survival.
- Poor oral care – A lapse in oral hygiene could lead to peri-implantitis, which could cause implant failure.
- Smoking – Smoking affects the blood flow to the affected area, negatively impacting healing and osseointegration.
- Teeth grinding – Bruxism can fracture the implant, loosening the screw and causing the implant to move and potentially fall out.
- Medical conditions – Various medical conditions have been associated with implant failure, including osteoporosis, diabetes, a weakened immune system and bleeding disorders.
- Age – Dental implants often don’t last as long in older people. This may be due to underlying bone or medical conditions.
- An Inexperienced dentist – can contribute to the failure of an implant due to improper placement, the use of poorly designed implants, or attaching a crown before the implant is stable, amongst other things
Hopefully, the above information has answered your question, how long do dental implants last.
Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, but they sometimes fail. The secret to an implant lasting a long time is maintaining good oral hygiene combined with six-monthly dental check-ups. This way, a dentist can diagnose any problems and treat them early.
If you’re considering dental implants or worried that something is amiss with an existing implant, why not schedule a dental consultation near you in St Marys by calling on (02) 9158 6312. Pearl Dental Care work with our patients at every step to help their implants last a long time.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
News Medical – History of Dental Implants
Healthline – Are Dental Implants Permanent?
National Library of Medicine – Dental Mini-implants
PubMed Central – Longevity and marginal bone loss of narrow-diameter implants supporting single crowns: A systematic review