Dental implants are widely preferred for long-term tooth replacement, looking like and requiring only the care given to natural teeth. But how will your dental implants last? The answer to this question depends greatly on your lifestyle and overall dental hygiene.
The technology behind dental implants has advanced to such a degree over the last ten to twenty years that implant failures have become very rare. Complications from pre-existing medical conditions, diseases, and misusing the implant are the most common reasons for an implant to fail. Dr. Ray Becker of Howard County Smiles in Ellicott City, MD would like to take a moment to help you understand the longevity of dental implants.
What Is A Dental Implant Made Of?
Implants last so long because of what they’re made of:
- Implant – The titanium or zirconia screw that is surgically embedded in the jawbone of a patient and serves as a root for the crown.
- Abutment – The abutment is attached to the implant and holds the crown in place.
- Crown – The crown is a ceramic false tooth that is mounted on the abutment and provides the look and function of a natural tooth.
In general, the crown and abutment are more likely to be damaged than the implant itself because they are exposed and actively used in biting and chewing.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
If you follow your dentist’s recommendation of flossing daily, brushing twice daily, and attending routine dental examinations twice a year, the implant screw itself can possibly last a lifetime. The crown will most likely require replacing in about 10 to 15 years due to normal wear and tear. However, cautious use and maintaining excellent dental hygiene can possibly extend the life beyond 15 years.
Mouth location is also a factor in calculating the expected life of a dental implant. Implants in the back of the mouth wear more quickly due to the fact that they are used more actively in chewing than implants near the front of the mouth.
Dental Implants vs. Other Tooth Replacement Options
While dentures need to be removed for cleaning and can slip out when talking or chewing, a dental implant is a permanent solution for missing teeth. Because they never need to be removed for cleaning or adjustments, dental implant completely replaces a natural tooth and can tolerate normal use for biting or chewing. This also means that all hygiene is done in your mouth alongside your natural teeth as you brush and floss them. Finally, because they are embedded directly into the jawbone, implants do not place stress on adjacent teeth as dental bridges do.
How Can Dental Implants Fail?
When properly cared for dental implants provide a long-term, indefinite replacement for missing or damaged teeth. However, there are multiple factors that can cause an implant to fail prematurely. Patients suffering from diabetes or other pre-existing medical conditions, such as cancer, have a higher risk of complications with their implant site bonding with existing tissue. Although the titanium implant itself is immune to decay, the gums, jawbone and surrounding natural teeth are still susceptible to gum disease and must be cared for to keep the surrounding tissue healthy and your implant securely in place.
Dental Implants in Ellicott City, MD
If you are considering dental implants, you will want a skilled and experienced dentist. Dr. Becker of Howard County Smiles in Ellicott City, MD is a skilled professional with over 33 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Becker about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (410) 415-9013 or schedule online.