Millions of adults are missing one or more teeth, which can lead to a variety of oral and overall health issues. One of the most common restorative dental procedures used to replace missing teeth at Calm Dental is dental implants.
Since dental implants interface with the jawbone through osseointegration, they are designed to be a permanent tooth restoration. Osseointegration is part of the healing process in which the jawbone heals around and fuses with the implant, creating a stable base for an artificial tooth.
However, while the implant is designed to last a lifetime, the crown may need to be replaced after some time due to wear and tear. In fact, research shows that approximately 50% to 80% of crowns must be replaced after 15 to 20 years.
Here is what you need to know about the expected lifespan of dental implants.
Components of Dental Implants
There are three parts to a dental implant:
inserted into the jawbone, acts as an artificial tooth root
connects the implant screw with the artificial tooth
sits on top of the gum, connected to the implant screw, replaces the missing tooth/teeth
Dental Implants vs. Other Tooth Restorations
Dental implants are the "gold standard" of tooth restorations because they restore the natural look, feel, and function of natural teeth. The implant screw is inserted into the jawbone, which provides the stimulation needed to prevent the bone from deteriorating.
Since the implant is secured to the jawbone through the process of osseointegration, you don't have to worry about your restorations shifting around in your mouth and you don't have to worry about food restrictions.
Factors Affecting the Longevity of Dental Implants
For most patients, dental implants last a lifetime. However, there are several factors that can cause implants to fail. Implant failure occurs when there is something that interferes with the healing process and/or osseointegration. Below, we'll explore some of the factors that can cause implant failure:
Proper oral hygiene habits are just as important for dental implants as they are for your natural teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease, which can cause damage to your gums and jawbone.
When plaque buildup causes issues with a dental implant, it is known as peri-implant disease and, when treated early, is reversible. However, if not treated, it may progress to peri-implantitis, which ultimately leads to implant failure.
Proper oral hygiene habits include:
Visiting the dentist every 6 months
Brushing twice daily
Flossing at least once daily
Limiting consumption of foods/beverages that are high in sugar
Inadequate Bone Density
Endosteal implants require sufficient jawbone density for support. Therefore, if you do not have adequate jawbone density, it's possible for the implant to fail. Before dental implants are placed, you will undergo a comprehensive exam which will include x-rays and 3D modeling.
If you do not have adequate jawbone density, bone grafting and/or sinus lifting may be recommended. However, even if you have adequate bone density prior to implant placement, there are a few things that can cause bone loss over time including osteoporosis, peri-implant disease, and other medical issues that affect bone health and density.
Dental implants have a 95% success rate for most healthy patients. However, research shows that, for smokers, the success rate is approximately 89%. Smoking interferes with blood flow, which can have a negative impact on healing and osseointegration. In addition, smoking increases your risk for gum disease.
Teeth grinding and other occlusal trauma, can cause the dental crown to fracture or the implant screw to fracture or loosen. This is because the grinding causes the implant to move slightly, which can impact osseointegration.
Research indicates that there are some medical conditions that can increase your risk of implant failure, including:
While adults of any age can get dental implants, it is important to note that age may increase your risk of implant failure. This is because older adults often heal much slower and are more likely to have underlying bone and other medical conditions.
There are certain medications and medical treatments that increase your risk of implant failure, including:
Experience of Surgeon
Experience is important for any dental procedure, especially dental implants. An inexperienced surgeon can cause implant failure due to:
Improper placement of implants
Attaching the crown before osseointegration
Trauma to surrounding tissues when placing implant
Poorly designed implants
What Should You do if Your Dental Implant Fails?
If you have signs and symptoms that you are experiencing implant failure, it's important to contact the dentist right away. We can schedule an appointment so that we can determine what is causing the failure and do what we can to save it. In some cases, we are unable to save the implant and it must be removed. If this happens, we will allow you time to heal and then attempt to replace it later or work with you to find a restoration option that works for you.
How Long do Dental Implants Really Last?
While dental implants have a 95% success rate and are designed to last a lifetime, the crown may need to be replaced after about 15 to 20 years. If you are interested in learning more about dental implants and whether this is an appropriate solution for your missing teeth, schedule your consultation today with the team at Calm Dental.
Dental Implant FAQs
Dental implants are among the most common dental restorations for missing teeth. Still, many patients have questions about this procedure. Here's a few of the most commonly asked questions at Calm Dental.
Why no dairy after dental implant?
While it's true that dairy is good for you due to the vitamins and nutrients it provides, you should avoid dairy immediately following dental implant surgery. This is because dairy may cause the surgical site to become inflamed, which may lead to implant failure. In addition, dairy often triggers nausea and vomiting, which can cause implant failure due to stomach acid in the mouth.
Are dental implants painful?
At one time, dental implant surgery may have been painful. However, thanks to modern technology and anesthesia options, the procedure itself is virtually painless. You may have some discomfort as you go through the healing process. However, this is easily remedied with OTC pain relievers. If you have significant pain, it's important that you contact your provider to find out why.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implant screws are inserted into the jawbone, acting as an artificial tooth root, providing a stable base for the tooth restoration. This dental restoration looks, feels, and functions more like a natural tooth than other options.
Are dental implants safe?
Yes, dental implants are safe for most patients. However, there are certain medical conditions that may disqualify you for this tooth restoration.
What are dental implants made of?
Dental implant screws are typically made of titanium and the crown is made of composite resin, porcelain, metal, or porcelain fused to metal. However, for patients who are allergic to some of the other metals used in titanium, there is another option: zirconia.
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