Dental professionals often recommend dental implants for tooth replacement as it offers complete restoration of oral function and appearance. The average biocompatible dental implant is incredibly durable, especially if placed into adequate bone structure and it can even last a lifetime with proper care, cleanings and routine oral checkups. Studies point to a success rate of 90 percent with implants even after ten years. However, even implants need occasional repairs or replacements over the years, depending on the requirements of your implant-supported teeth.
There are a few factors that can influence the durability of your dental implants.
Bone Structure – Bone wears down with age but for implants there must be enough bone in your mouth for the implants to be inserted. In patients where the bone is just enough for the implants, the implants will not last as long because the bone will continue to deteriorate and become thinner.
Healthy Gums– Your gums should be healthy for dental implants to last the minimum of ten years. If you have diseased gums it will not be able to support dental implants well for long. You will need regular dental visits to maintain your healthy gums.
Good Oral Hygiene– Dental implants require the exact same routine oral care like your real teeth, which means brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings.
Bruxism- Patients who clench or grind their teeth during sleep are at risk of stressing their implants. Many people are not even aware that they grind their teeth during sleep but if you have flattened teeth, chipped enamel edges and often break pieces of filled teeth then you may be suffering from bruxism. Dental surgeons will compensate for the effects of bruxism by placing additional implants and selecting appropriate restorative materials during the procedure. Dentists also recommend a night time bite guard to protect the new teeth.
Whether you have full dental implants, partial implants, or a single tooth implant, the care you put in plays a critical role in the length of time your dental implants will last.
What are Dental Implants Made Of?
In dental implant surgery a titanium cylinder about a few millimeters in diameter is placed into the jawbone as the replacement for a missing tooth’s root. The implant supports a prosthetic which acts as the visible structures of the missing teeth like a dental crown or bridge or even a full arch of teeth Crown or bridge prosthetics are usually made of white materials like porcelain, precious metals like gold or silver, and a combination of porcelain-fused-to-metal. While for the full arch prosthetics, a combination of porcelain is used to mimic the structure of teeth and pink acrylic is used to resemble the gums.
How Long Does Dental Implant Treatment Take?
Dental implant treatment times can vary between six weeks and six months from the first placing of your missing tooth/teeth, depending on your specific needs. The availability of better quality bone reduces treatment time, whilst poor bone quality requires more time and care, which can extend treatment times even beyond six months.
How Do I Care for Dental Implants?
Once the dental implant feels stable in the gums and surrounding soft tissues are seen to be healthy, it is the quality of caring for your prosthetic teeth that will determine how long your implants will last. Poorly cared for implants will show hard and soft deposits of calculus and plaque, similar to that found on natural teeth. This often leads to gum infection, soreness, bleeding and pain. Patients with dental implants do need to brush and floss as normal. By practicing good oral hygiene and committing to regular maintenance reviews and cleanings, it is possible to increase the longevity of your prosthetic teeth. It would be fair to say that implants can last as long as natural teeth.