How Long do Dental Implants Last?
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants offer the best solution for most patients. Implants will not only perform in a way that is very similar to that of the patient’s natural teeth, but they will also help to maintain the natural shape of the jaw. In addition to that, they can also be a very good long-term solution for patients who are looking to restore their smile.
As a dental implant specialist, patients commonly ask me how long they can expect their implants to last. Unfortunately, this is not a question that comes with a simple answer. The lifespan of a dental implant or any implant-supported prosthesis will vary from one person to the next. A variety of factors can impact the long-term viability of dental implants, so it is important to consider these factors when trying to explain the expected lifespan of replacement teeth.
How long can implants last?
Dental implant surgery has a high success rate and most patients can expect these replacement teeth to last for many years. If they are well taken care of and the patient has no significant health issues that may affect the implants, they could last 25 years or more.
There is even significant research into the expected life of dental implants. In one study from 2012, the survival rate for the implants was at 96% after six years. This study also found that there was a strong association between the implants that failed during the six-year period and patients having poor oral hygiene practices or a lack of follow up care from the dentist. Several studies have also looked into the survival rate of dental implants beyond ten years. At the ten-year mark, most studies place the survival rate for dental implants at between 90-95%.
Based on the available research, the overwhelming majority of patients can expect their dental implants to last well beyond ten years without having to worry about complications. Furthermore, the possibility of failure can be greatly reduced by maintaining sound oral hygiene practices and visiting your dentist for regular checkups.
Factors That can Increase the Risk of Early Failure
Dental implants have a high success rate and a long lifespan because the techniques have been thoroughly developed over many years, and they are made from durable materials like titanium. Additionally, implant surgeons evaluate patients before the surgery to make sure they are a good candidate for dental implants, and this eliminates many of the patients who would be at a high risk for early failure.
Several factors can impact the lifespan of a dental implant. One is the bone volume and density at the site of the implant. If there has been considerable bone loss or a lack of density at the implant location, this can affect the long-term outcome for the patient.
The skill of the implant surgeon can also make a difference. If the implant is not well-placed, it might fail sooner than an implant that has ideal placement. Additionally, poor placement can also impact the ability of the implant to integrate in with the bone, and this can increase the risk of early failure.
As I mentioned earlier, poor oral hygiene can also have an effect on the lifespan of dental implants. Just like with natural teeth, the patient needs to brush and floss regularly. If you do not care for the implants properly, the surrounding tissue can get infected and this could contribute to early failure.
Patients should also continue to receive regular checkups and cleanings from their dentist. This is an important step in maintaining dental implants and it can help you to avoid any serious issues that may lead to failure. Furthermore, regular checkups help to ensure that any small issues are caught early. If left undetected, some issues can contribute to the failure of an implant, but if they are caught early, they can be treated.
Even if the dental implant is in good condition, some patients may experience problems with the crowns or their implant-supported bridge. It is possible for the crown or bridge to suffer damage as the result of a significant impact. In some cases, damage can also result from exerting too much biting force on objects that may be too hard. When this type of damage occurs, the implant may be fine but the crown or bridge will need to be replaced.
As you can see, there is no textbook answer for the lifespan of dental implants. Several factors come into play. That said, they are a great solution for patients that are missing teeth. They outperform other treatments when it comes to function, and they can easily last well over ten years if the patient cares for them properly. Barring any unforeseen health issues or traumatic injuries, a dental implant could potentially last beyond 25 years as long as they receive the care they need.