How Long Do Dental Implants Actually Last?

Dental implants are an excellent option for long-term tooth replacement, looking like and requiring only the maintenance given to natural teeth. But how long do dental implants normally last? The answer to this question depends largely on the patient’s choices and overall dental hygiene. 

The technology involved in dental implants has advanced over the last ten to twenty years to the point that implant failures due to rejection or functionality issues are now very rare. Misuse of the implant, pre-existing medical conditions and diseases are now the most likely culprits when an implant does fail. 

What Is A Dental Implant Made Of?

Implants last so long because of what they’re made of:

  1. Implant – The titanium or zirconia post that is surgically embedded into the jawbone of a patient and serves as a root for the crown.
  2. Abutment – The abutment is fastened to the implant and holds the crown.
  3. Crown – The crown is a ceramic false tooth that is mounted atop the abutment and provides the look and function of a natural tooth.

In general, the crown and abutment are more susceptible to damage than the implant itself because they are exposed and actively used in biting and chewing food.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

With regular brushing and flossing, the implant screw itself can last a lifetime, assuming the patient receives regular dental check-ups every 6 months. The crown, however, usually only lasts about 10 to 15 years before it may need a replacement due to wear and tear. However, maintaining excellent dental hygiene and using it cautiously could extend the life of the crown beyond 15 years. Mouth location is also a factor in predicting the life of a dental implant. Implants in the rear of the mouth are used more actively in chewing, which means they will likely wear out more quickly than implants near the front of the mouth.

Dental Implants vs. Other Tooth Replacement Options

A dental implant is a permanent solution for missing teeth and is now the preferred tooth-replacement option among patients and dentists. A dental implant completely replaces a natural tooth and can be used to bite and chew without slipping as can occur with dentures. And unlike dentures, implants are permanently placed, meaning that all cleaning — brushing twice daily and flossing — is done alongside your natural teeth. Because they are attached to the interior jawbone, implants don’t put strain on neighboring teeth as dental bridges tend to do and don’t require any special steps to clean.. 

How Can Dental Implants Fail?

Dental implants provide a long-term replacement for missing or damaged teeth when properly cared for, but there are several conditions or situations that can cause an implant to fail prematurely. Patients suffering from diabetes or other pre-existing medical conditions, such as cancer, will have a higher risk of their implant failing. As mentioned earlier, dental implants must be maintained through regular brushing and flossing as the gums and neighboring teeth are still vulnerable. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which can also negatively impact the success of a dental implant. 

Dental Implants in Columbia, SC

If you are considering dental implants, you’ll want to see the best implant dentist in your area. Dr. Tom Trinkner of Columbia, SC is a skilled professional with almost 35 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Trinkner about dental implants or any other dental issue, please call 803.400.8729 or schedule online.