The above question is something we get asked quite a lot as dentists, but it is often a ‘how long is a piece of string’ type question.
Implants are an investment to many people and before people part with their cash, they want to have some idea of the longevity of their investment and how perhaps they can maintain it to ensure it lasts well into the future. In this article we’ll look closely at the length of time dental implants (should) last for and what can be done to preserve them further.
Implants were born in the 1960s and nearly 60 years later, science has developed tremendously which means implants and their durability has increased further also.
To answer the question everyone wants to know (i.e. how long do dental implants last) there is no precise answer as we have already alluded to. The surprising thing is that dental implants can actually last all through a person’s life and the likelihood of this happening increases if you take steps to look after them.
Dental implants have a crown section which is attached to the top and people normally find that this will need some replacing after 10 to 15 years. Again however, proper care can even extend this time period even further.
Dental implants can fail and they are not invincible like any dental product or treatment. However a 2007 study looking at success rates of single implants showed that after 5 years, 97% were still well performing and in working order. One could argue that more than a decade later with better advancements and understanding that this figure is probably higher.
If dental implants are not looked after then they can develop a coating of hard or soft deposits and could become damaged in the same way that plaque and calculus affect normal teeth. If this is left untreated, then further problems can result such as infections or bleeding of the gums, or general soreness and uncomfortable feelings.
What are some of the issues that could cause problems with dental implants and shorten their lifespan?
–Similarly to natural teeth, not following a comprehensive oral routine and having regular check-ups can have a negative effect on your dental implants. Brushing and flossing can help improve the life of your natural teeth and your tooth implants too.
–We all know that smoking is bad for health and natural teeth, but it is also bad for tooth implants. Smoking can hinder the healing process once an implant has been fitted, so problems can arise from the outset. Smokers are more likely to experience gum problems which can cause inflammation, leading to problems with the implants and ultimately failure of them.
–Certain medical conditions can cause problems with implants and reduce their effectiveness or how long they last. If you are thinking of having implants and have certain conditions (e.g Diabetes) then please get plenty of advice and information first.
–A poor diet which lacks in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients can become problematic for your dental implants as your body is not receiving the vital ingredients it needs to keep your body, natural teeth (or implants) healthy.
For much more information on dental implants visit our dedicated section now.