Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth for several reasons, but the procedure requires a time commitment and can be costly. Although your oral health is invaluable, you’d like to know that your investment will last, so you naturally have questions about a dental implant’s longevity.
We have the answers at Dental Art of South Bay in Torrance, California. Dr. Dana Samet and our team offer state-of-the-art dental implants and have years of experience completing our patients’ smiles with these natural-looking, nonslipping, oral-health-saving restorations. When they ask how long their dental implants will last, here’s what we say.
Will dental implants last a lifetime?
All dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime, and studies show that 95% of patients enjoy their implants for 10 years and beyond. They’re safe and effective and can save your oral health by keeping neighboring teeth in stable positions, stimulating healthy bone growth in your jaw, and ensuring you can eat and speak properly.
So, what happens to the 5% of people who don’t experience complete success? We’re glad you asked, because certain variables affect your dental implant’s longevity, and you should know the facts before moving forward with your procedure.
Factors that affect how long dental implants last
Dental implant failure is rare but possible. And while most people have zero problems for the rest of their lives, some experience issues that shorten the lives of their dental implants. Here are the most common culprits.
Poor bone health
Insufficient bone is the top reason dental implants don’t take. Because we anchor a titanium post into your jawbone, it requires a minimum amount of healthy bone tissue to take hold. Over time, usually about 3-6 months, your living jawbone tissue fuses with the post (a process called osseointegration), which serves as your new tooth root, creating a permanently stable foundation for the crown on top.
We check your bone quality before recommending the dental implant procedure. If you don’t have sufficient bone, we can shore it up with a bone graft or a sinus lift before implanting the post.
However, losing bone mass after you receive an implant due to osteoporosis or other diseases can compromise the implant’s integrity and shorten its life.
Your new implant is easy to care for; you simply brush and floss daily as usual. However, if plaque builds up on or around your implant and invades your gums and jawbone, you develop peri-implant mucositis, where your gums become inflamed, or peri-implantitis, which deteriorates the bone and can spell doom for your implant.
Bruxism, the technical name for teeth grinding, destroys your teeth. The repetitive movement and friction wear down your enamel, compromising the structure of your teeth, and keep your jaw and facial muscles tense, causing myofascial pain and headaches.
When you have a dental implant, bruxism can prevent osseointegration, wear down and crack your crown, and loosen the post implanted into your jawbone.
Your dental implant becomes part of your body and therefore relies on good overall health to survive. Certain medical conditions can affect the success of your dental implant, including:
- Heart disease
- Compromised immune system
- Bleeding disorders
Talk to our team about your health history, as it may determine whether you’re a good candidate for a dental implant.
The chemicals in tobacco affect your vessels and impair your blood flow, which means it can interfere with osseointegration and slow down your body’s ability to heal. That’s why smokers have over double the number of dental implant failures as nonsmokers.
If you take medications for other health conditions, let us know. Certain treatments that affect your immune system or thin your blood can affect your dental implant.
Most dental implants thrive
Despite the list of factors that can derail your dental implant, the good news is that nearly all dental implants survive and thrive. To find out if you’re a good candidate for a dental implant and get a good idea of how long you can expect yours to last, call Dental Art of South Bay at 310-272-5490 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Samet.