How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

How Long Do Dental Implants Last

If you’re considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, you might be curious about how long they’ll last and what factors affect their lifespan. Let’s take a look at these questions and some tips for maintaining durable implants.

Dental implants are a popular and permanent solution for tooth loss. They’re titanium posts surgically implanted into the jawbone to serve as a solid foundation for artificial teeth, functioning much like natural ones.

 

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants offer a long-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth, designed to endure for over 20 years. When I assure my patients of this longevity, it’s based on solid research:

  • A comprehensive 20-year study involving 12,580 dental implants revealed that 93% of them survived for 17 years. Only about 2% of implants failed within the first year, with just 5% failing in the subsequent 16 years.
  • Another study spanning 30 years, though smaller in scale, demonstrated a 100% success rate, indicating that implants can indeed last for two decades or more without failing.

Considering that most recipients of dental implants are over 50 years old, and the average life expectancy in the US is around 80 years, it’s reasonable to expect that implants can last a lifetime, given proper care.

It’s worth noting that dental implant technology is relatively young, with just over 50 years of development. Dentists have continually improved products, procedures, and aftercare based on decades of research, resulting in longer-lasting implants compared to their early iterations.

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5 Factors that Affect Dental Implants’ Lifespan

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, dental implants typically have a 95 percent success rate on average. However, their success depends on various factors.

 

1. The Dentist’s Level of Expertise

The success of your implant procedure hinges on the dentist you choose. It’s crucial to have a dentist with the necessary experience and training to ensure proper placement. They’ll assess your overall mouth health beforehand.

Opting for a less experienced dentist may lead to complications. So, it’s essential to research and select a reputable, experienced dentist to avoid potential issues. Complications can be painful and costly to fix, often doubling or tripling the initial cost.

Do you need an oral surgeon for your dental implant surgery? While oral surgeons excel in complex oral surgeries, they may lack extensive training in dental implants right after schooling. They require extra courses and hands-on training for successful implant placement.

Additionally, oral surgeons tend to be pricier and may prefer your general dentist to handle implant procedures, including crown installation. A skilled general dentist can deliver comparable or superior results, managing the entire procedure from start to finish, including crown or prosthesis installation.

 

2. Bone Density

Your dentist will consider bone density when assessing your suitability for dental implants because it affects how long they last.

For dental implants to succeed, your jawbone must be sturdy enough to support them. If your jawbone lacks density, your body won’t be able to support the implant fixtures, leading to implant failure.

A 2014 study confirmed the importance of bone density in implant success and survival. It identified four bone quality types, with Type I being the densest and most protected, boasting a 97.6% survival rate, while Type 4 had the lowest survival rate at 88.8%.

During your initial consultation, your dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth to assess your bone density and overall oral health. This helps them develop a tailored treatment plan.

 

Here’s a tip: Make sure your dentist performs a CT scan (CBCT scan) to plan your implant procedures. This 3D simulation reduces errors in implant placement, enhancing the success of the procedure.

If there isn’t enough bone, your dentist has options. They can perform a bone grafting procedure to increase bone volume or adjust the implant placement position.

Bone grafting involves filling in the gaps or sockets where teeth used to be, rebuilding the jawbone before implant placement. Though time-consuming, it’s crucial for successful implant procedures.

 

3. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can impact dental implants. Conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases can affect the success of dental implants.

Cancer

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can harm surrounding tissue and bones, affecting healing and potentially causing dental implant failure.

Radiation therapy, a common cancer treatment, uses high-energy radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. While effective, it can also harm nearby healthy cells, including those in the jawbone that support dental implants.

Similarly, chemotherapy, another cancer treatment, employs drugs to eradicate cancer cells. However, it can also damage healthy cells, including those crucial for supporting dental implant placement in the jawbone.

Uncontrolled Diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes can harm blood vessels and nerves, slowing down healing and increasing the risk of implant failure.

Millions of Americans have diabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, this can damage nerves and blood vessels. If you have diabetes and dental implants, this damage can lead to implant failure.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can impact the lifespan of dental implants. These diseases trigger the immune system to attack healthy tissue, which can damage surrounding tissues and bones. This interference with the body’s healing process can result in implant failure if you have dental implants.

Are Dental Implants Covered by Insurance

4. Dental Implant Brand

Not all dental implants are made the same. While some can last up to 25 years, others may only endure 5 to 10 years.

Given that dental implants are a significant investment, it’s crucial to ensure you get the best value for your money. But how do you choose the right dental implant brand? And once you’ve made your choice, how can you be confident that your implants will last?

 

What Brand to Buy?

When selecting a dental implant brand, there are four key factors to consider for longevity and reliability:

FDA Approval: Always prioritize brands with FDA approval. This ensures they meet safety and effectiveness standards for human use.

Research Backing: Look for brands supported by research or clinical studies verifying their claims. It’s crucial to verify the effectiveness of the implant through thorough research.

Guarantee Offerings: Opt for brands that provide warranties, such as a 10-year or lifetime guarantee. This ensures the brand stands behind its products in case of any issues or defects.

Proven Track Record: Choose brands with a demonstrated history of success. This can be assessed through reviews, dentist recommendations, and personal research. Pay attention to factors like customer satisfaction and service quality.

In essence, prioritize FDA-approved brands supported by research, offering warranties, and boasting a proven track record.

 

Factor 5. Lifestyle and Habits

While dental implants are durable, they’re not immune to damage. Like natural teeth, they can be affected by gum disease and decay if not cared for properly. It’s vital to acknowledge that dental implants aren’t indestructible. Various factors can contribute to their failure. 

Take a moment to assess if any habits or lifestyle choices might shorten the lifespan of your dental implants and increase the risk of failure.

The Takeaway

Dentists have discovered over 50 years of dedicated research that the key to long-lasting dental implants involves high-quality dental products, experienced implant dental professionals, and regular dental health checks.

Understanding these factors helps ensure your implants last as long as possible. If you experience implant failure, consult your dentist promptly to find the best solution.

At Elite Dental and Orthodontics in Westchester, California, we provide comprehensive information to help you make informed decisions about your smile.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation and determine if dental implants are right for you.

Elite Dental and Orthodontics
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