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Periodontics & Implantology Blog

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How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

This is a good question and one that you should investigate before making the sizable investment of dental implants.  Not everyone’s results are the same, so consulting with your dental professional and diagnosing your particular needs are necessary when making important decisions about your dental health.

Modern dental implants have been a successful option for over 30 years.  They are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth – and even better, they allow these new teeth to feel, look and function naturally.

Paired with the proper dental implant surgery, performed by an experienced dental implant professional, and a daily regimen of adequate flossing and brushing, your implant can potentially last a lifetime. With normal wear and tear, a crown or replacement tooth may last for about 10-15 years.  Excellent dental hygiene could extend this beyond 15 years.

How Does a Dental Implant Work?

When there is tooth loss or missing teeth, dental implants are the best option for the most natural function of your teeth.  A dental implant procedure is performed by inserting artificial tooth roots. These “roots” or implants are made of titanium and other materials that fuse with the jawbone.  Replacement teeth or crowns are then securely placed on those “artificial roots” so that they feel stable and match the other surrounding teeth.

Purpose of a Dental Implant Procedure

A dental implant can replace one or more permanent teeth that have been lost to an injury, gum disease, tooth decay, or infection.  A proper diagnosis will be different for everyone and may result in other dental replacement options such as dentures and bridges. Your dental professional will walk you through these important decisions so that you will have the most successful end result.

Components of A Dental Implant

To fully understand the anatomy of dental implants, you must first understand some key components:

  1. Implant – The implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jawbone of a patient and acts as a root for the crown.
  2. Abutment – The abutment is attached to the implant and holds the crown in place.
  3. Crown – The crown is a ceramic tooth that is fastened to the abutment and provides the look of a natural tooth.

In general, the exposed abutment and the crown are more susceptible to damage than the implant itself, so that is why good dental hygiene is necessary for the longevity of your dental implant.

Advantages to Having Dental Implants

Dental Implants are a long term, sustainable option for many adults.  Here are Four advantages:

  1. You will look and feel great because dental implants function just like healthy, natural teeth.  
  2. With proper dental care, implants are built to last unlike bridges and dentures that need replacement every 5-10 years which requires the investment of more time and money.
  3. Your dental implants will be secure, so they won't slip or click when you talk, eat or laugh, unlike what you might experience with dentures. You'll also find that your speech is more natural. With dental implants, you'll have the peace of mind to eat, talk and laugh with confidence.
  4. Leaving empty spaces where teeth are missing can lead to future jawbone deterioration which can result in other health issues. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that encourages bone growth and prevents future bone loss.

Why Do Dental Implants Fail?

When deciding to invest in your smile with dental implants, restoration is only successful when you practice proper dental hygiene including daily brushing and flossing as well as bi-annual check-ups. Poor oral hygiene practices can lead to gum disease – gingivitis or periodontal disease, which can subsequently lead to dental implant failure.  Diabetic patients or patients suffering from pre-existing medical conditions like cancer are also at a higher risk of having dental implant failure.

Other Factors That Can Affect your Dental Implants

  • Your oral practices - Once again, good oral hygiene will influence how long your dental implant will last.  A regimen of daily brushing and flossing as well as regular check-ups will increase the longevity of your implant.
  • How you use your teeth - Chewing or biting on hard items can hurt your implants.  Enjoy some of these treats, but use caution just like you would do with natural teeth.
  • Finding a dental implant specialist - If your implant surgery is handled by a well-trained and experienced periodontist, your dental implant will last longer. This is because professional dentists know how to place the implant, correctly restoring your smile while allowing necessary bone growth.
  • Location of the implant - The location of the dental implant in your mouth will also determine the longevity of your dental implant. For instance, implants positioned at the back of the mouth will receive more pressure due to chewing than those positioned in the front. As a result, the implant at the back of the mouth may fail more quickly than those at the front of the mouth.  Your implant specialist will discuss these facts with you.
  • Your general oral health and lifestyle - Patients who smoke or drink heavily are at a higher risk of experiencing implant failure than non-smokers and non-drinkers. Further ensuring that your dental implant lasts as long as possible, refraining from smoking and drinking heavily before and after the placement of the implant is strongly encouraged.

Dental implants are a viable treatment option for many.  To answer any questions you may have or to schedule a consultation, call San Antonio Periodontics and Implants at 210-824-0111.  Our professional and friendly dental staff are dedicated to providing you with optimal dental care by determining a treatment plan that is unique to your dental needs.  A newly restored and healthy smile is waiting for you!


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