Whether you have a full mouth restoration using several dental implants, or a single dental implant, you are making a significant investment in time and money on your teeth. Many people wisely wonder how long the investment of a dental implant will last. It’s a good question without a one size fits all answer. Understanding all of the variables will help ensure that your implants will last as long as possible.
The first thing to consider is the skill and experience level of the doctor placing the implants. Some doctors have placed thousands of implants and simply know best how and where to place them in the bone, ensuring proper osseointegration. In order for the implant to be successful, it needs to integrate, or essentially, become one with your bone. Your body will naturally take care of this if placed correctly and cared for properly. The more expertly you are treated, the greater the likelihood of proper placement and proper osseointegration, ensuring longer-lasting dental implants.
Next, there are many implant companies that are creating many different types of implants and abutments. To the untrained eye, an implant might just look like a tiny titanium screw. In reality, millions of dollars of research and development are going into dental implants every year to ensure the highest level of success. Many implant companies have been clinically shown to have failure rates below 1%. Make sure your doctor is using implants from a reputable source.
Sometimes the reason a patient needs an implant in the first place is because their natural teeth weren’t properly cared for. As with natural teeth, an implant with a crown or bridge needs proper maintenance and cleaning. Unlike a natural tooth, the crown portion of an implant is impervious to infection such as cavities. However, the area beneath the crown where the implant meets the gum tissue requires the most care and maintenance. Twice daily brushing and flossing, especially with a water flosser, will keep the area clean and help ensure the longevity of your dental implant. Standard dental hygiene visits are also a critical part of implant maintenance.
Some health conditions are outside of our control but can still affect the health of a dental implant, such as cancer treatments. There are other choices that affect our health and which can affect the longevity of a dental implant. Heavy drinking, smoking, or drug use can have significant adverse affects on bone health, and in turn the health of a dental implant. We always recommend refraining from smoking, drugs, and heavy drinking. Even some prescription medications can have an adverse affect on your health and implant longevity. Ask your doctor if you are concerned about how your health conditions might affect dental implants. Generally speaking, any condition that would affect your bone health, such as diabetes, will also likely affect your dental implants.
Healthy, strong bones are key to dental implant longevity. Certain vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and boron, promote healthy and strong bones. A well-rounded diet can provide most of this, but a supplement is sometimes recommended to ensure that your bones are getting everything they need. We can often see increased bone density in the x-rays of our patients that are taking recommended supplements regularly.
Protecting your teeth and your health can help ensure that your dental implants can last a lifetime. The good news is that if your dental implant does fail it can likely be replaced with another dental implant. Consult your doctor to get personalized tips on maintaining your implants and preparing for implant surgery.