Over 500,000 dental implants are placed each year in the US. If you find yourself among this group, you probably have some questions, chiefly among them, how long will my dental implants last? The answer depends on a number of factors.
Implants are essentially artificial tooth roots that create a strong foundation for artificial teeth known as crowns. Crowns are custom-made to fit a patient's mouth and match their natural teeth. By design, implants are intended to be permanent, as they fuse with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration.
While the implant itself is designed to be permanent, it is possible that the crown attached to it may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. As a result, the average lifespan of a dental implant is ~ 25 years; however, there are factors that can lead to a shorter or longer lifespan. These include:
One of the benefits of dental implants is that they function like natural teeth, so it makes sense that patients with good oral hygiene have implants that last longer! Just as you should practice regular hygiene with natural teeth, you should brush and floss dental implants daily. Pro-Tip: Select a nylon toothbrush with gentle bristles and avoid abrasive toothpaste and mouthwash.
Food and Chewing Habits
Foods that are sugary, sticky, or hard can also negatively affect the lifespan of your implant. Additionally, clenching your jaw or chewing hard can also shorten your dental implant's lifespan. Pro-Tip: You don't need to avoid your favorite treats entirely, but you should wait until your mouth has completely healed before enjoying them!
Location of the Implant
We use some parts of our mouth more than others. For example, we use our back teeth more often and with more pressure than our front teeth. As a result, an implant placed in the front of the mouth will last longer than one in the back. Pro-Tip: Be cognizant of biting down hard with implants, particularly if they're located in the back of your mouth.
People who smoke cigarettes are at a higher risk for dental implant failure. Not only does smoking lead to weakened gums and bone, but nicotine slows healing by restricting the flow of oxygen and blood to your bone and oral tissue and can prevent the bone from fusing with the implant. Pro-Tip: If you need another reason to quit smoking, this is it!
Overall health is also a determining factor in how well a patient's body accepts a dental implant. For example, patients with certain pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, are at a higher risk of implant failure. Pro-Tip: Your health will also determine how well your mouth heals after the implant surgery.
The longevity of dental implants relies on the jaw's ability to properly fuse to the implant post. As a result, your bone density and dental implant success go hand-in-hand. Pro-Tip: If you've experienced bone loss, procedures such as bone grafting can enhance the thickness of your jaw, making you a potential candidate for dental implants
Schedule A Consultation
While dental implants don't quite last forever, they can last for many years. If you have questions about dental implants, or would you like to schedule a consultation, please contact our dental team.