Are Dental Implants a Permanent Solution for Tooth Loss?

Dental implants are a popular choice for long-term tooth replacement, looking exactly like and requiring only the same care given to natural teeth. But how long will dental implants last? The answer to this question is mostly dependent on the patient’s lifestyle choices and overall dental hygiene. The technology involved in the design and installation of dental implants has advanced so much over the last ten to twenty years that implant failures due to rejection or functionality issues have become very rare. Damage to surrounding tissues due to pre-existing medical conditions, diseases, and implant misuse- biting substances that are not meant for humans to chew- are the most common culprits when an implant does fail.

Components of a Dental Implant

To better understand what helps an implant to last, it helps to know what an implant is made of.

  1. Implant – The titanium or zirconia post that is surgically placed (implanted) in the jawbone of a patient and serves 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 replica tooth that is attached to the abutment and provides the look and function of a natural tooth.

The crown and abutment are generally more prone to be damaged than the implant itself because they are exposed and actively used in biting and chewing.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

With daily brushing and flossing to keep the surrounding tissues healthy, the implant piece itself can last a lifetime. This also assumes the patient receives regular dental check-ups twice yearly. The crown, however, usually only lasts about 10 to 15 years before normal wear may cause it to require a replacement. However, maintaining excellent dental hygiene could extend the life of the crown beyond 15 years. Location in the mouth is also a factor in predicting the life of a dental implant. Implants in the back of the mouth are actively used in chewing, which can wear them down more quickly than implants near the front of the mouth which are just used for .

Dental Implants vs. Other Tooth Replacements

A dental implant is designed to be a permanent solution for missing teeth and has become the preferred tooth-replacement option. A dental implant provides acts as a natural tooth and can withstand biting or chewing without slipping unlike with dentures. Also unlike dentures, implants are permanently placed and all cleaning is done in your mouth when you clean your natural teeth. Because they are attached to the interior jawbone and not your other teeth, implants don’t put stress on adjacent teeth, as dental bridges tend to do.

Can Implants Fail?

Dental implants are a long-term, indefinite replacement for missing or damaged teeth when properly cared for, but there are several factors that can cause an implant to fail. As mentioned previously, dental implants must be maintained through regular brushing and flossing. Poor oral hygiene can lead to periodontal (gum) disease which can lead to implants becoming loose due to infected gum tissues and bone loss on the jawbone.

Dental Implants in Plano TX

In summary, the implant portion of your dental implant can last a lifetime with proper care, and the crown can last over 15 years with care and responsible use. In the decades between replacements, crowns allow you to live your life as if you have all your natural teeth without needing to be removed or requiring any special care.  If you are considering dental implants, you need to see the best implant dentist possible. Dr. Mark Sowell of Sensational Smiles in Plano TX is a skilled professional with over 25 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Sowell about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (972) 382-6855 or schedule a complimentary consultation online today!