How long do dental implants last? Many patients ask this question when they search for the best treatment option to replace a missing tooth or teeth. First, let me clarify what are dental implants. They are artificial tooth roots that placed into the jawbone. Then, the dentist attaches dental prostheses to them such as crowns and bridges to replace a missing tooth or teeth. They are made of titanium or zirconia. Since implants are among the most expensive and the highest quality treatment options, their lifespan is particularly important to the patients.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants can last a lifetime. However, there are many factors determine how long do dental implants last such as the bone quality, oral hygiene, and the general health of the patient. Dental implants are the best option to replace a missing tooth or teeth compared to dental bridges. Scientific studies proved that 90% of dental implants are still functional and in almost perfect condition after more than 10 years. The field of oral implantology continues to progress. So in the future, the life expectancy of implants will increase.
Factors Determining How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
There are many factors determine how long do dental implants last, include:
The Condition of The Bone
The quality and quantity of the jawbone are essential factors that determine how long do dental implants last. A sufficient amount of bone should surround the implant, so the implant can fuse properly (osseointegration) and perform its full function. The more jawbone is present, the longer and larger the implant can be, which in turn increases the load capacity and the longevity. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that is always advantageous to choose larger implants. Too large implant diameters may deteriorate the blood flow in the jawbone and promote bone resorption.
There is a difference in bone density between the upper and lower jaw. The lower jaw is higher in bone density than the upper jaw. Thus, the place of implants has an impact on how long do dental implants last. If there is not enough bone before the implantation – for example, because bone loss has taken place due to missing teeth – the dentist may perform a bone grafting procedure to repair and rebuild the bone.
Not only the implant itself but the dental prosthesis attached to it (bridge or crown) has an influence on how long do dental implants last. Choosing the appropriate dental prostheses will minimize stress and increase the lifespan of dental implants. According to many experts, 3 implants are necessary to replace all missing molars on one side of the jaw with a bridge. In the case of total loss of teeth, dentists recommended placing 6-8 implants in the upper and lower jaw to provide a sufficient support for the bridge and avoid overloading the implants. Today, newer treatment concepts such all-on-4 give edentulous patients the opportunity to anchor the dental prosthesis on only 4 implants.
In addition, the prosthesis must also be hygienic. This means that the patient can easily clean the prosthesis and surrounding gums by the daily oral hygiene measures. If he/she is not able to do so, an inflammation of the tissues that support the implant (peri-implantitis) may occur. This inflammation can lead to complete loss of the implant.
Regular oral hygiene is essential for the longevity of dental implants. Bacterial plaque may cause an inflammation of the hard and soft tissues supporting the dental implants (pre-implants). This inflammation may go unnoticed by the patient for a long time. In the worst case, it can lead to the loss of implants. So, regular oral hygiene is important to remove bacterial plaque and avoid the risk of infection. Also, regular check-ups at the dentist will help early identify any problems and inflammations.
The General Health of The Patient
Some diseases have a negative impact on how long do dental implants last. This includes diseases that affect the metabolism and the bone condition. For example, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Also, oral conditions and diseases such as periodontitis and teeth grinding. In addition to diseases, lifestyle habits such as smoking and taking medications that interfere with the bone metabolism are an influencing factor on the lifespan of dental implants.