Thanks to technological advances in dentistry and oral surgery, replacing missing teeth has come a long way since the first denture was made in the early seventh century.
Nowadays, people with lost or missing teeth have many more options to choose from. The most common options include dental crowns, tooth bridges, dental implants, and removable dentures. Of those mentioned, dental implants offer one of the most convenient and long-lasting solutions available. Read further to discover why.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. It is a titanium appliance that is inserted into and supported by the jawbone which allows either removable replacement teeth or fixed crowns and tooth bridges to be anchored to it. Dental implants are a great solution for people who have lost their teeth but have maintained sufficient quantity and quality of bone.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Many potential implant patients want to know “How long do teeth implants last?” or “How long can dental implants last?” Dental implants are considered a long-term tooth replacement solution. Though it can take up to six months to complete a successful treatment, with good care and regular dental hygiene, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Do Dental Implants Last Forever?
Implants really can last a lifetime if well cared for. Because implants did not come into use until the 1980s, no one knows the exact longevity of dental implants. Further enhancements and innovations since then have made dental implants a much more commonplace procedure.
Since the mid-2000s, many of the implants placed are still in use today. That being said, the longevity, performance and how long teeth implants last varies based on a variety of factors including:
Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking or the use of tobacco products can have adverse effects on how long tooth implants last, making them more prone to failure. How long teeth implants last is often shortened for smokers and they must have a backup plan for what to do when implant failure happens.
Poor General Health
Patients who have systemic diseases such as diabetes, lupus, or any issue that creates chronic inflammation within the body are at a higher risk for implant failure and may experience issues with implant stability over the long-haul, thus affecting how long teeth implants last.
A dental implant can fail sooner than expected if the patient develops advanced gum disease. A specific type of gum disease known as peri-implantitis is an inflammation that occurs at the junction of the implant and the gum tissue. This condition can lead to bone loss, implant mobility, and eventual failure.
Wear of the Teeth
How long teeth implants last is also affected by placing undue stresses on the implants from clenching and grinding. These parafunctional habits are known to cause implants to loosen within the bone.
Implants must have adequate support from the jawbone in all dimensions to maintain their integrity. Patients suffering from bone loss must be carefully evaluated by their dental surgeon to assess their suitability for implants.
Implants that are improperly placed are doomed to failure. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to choose an oral health provider that is an experienced implant surgeon to ensure that the implants have the best chance of lasting for as long as possible.
Single tooth implants can be pricey; multiple tooth implants with restorations can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000. Because of the expense, many dentists recommend the next best treatment alternative: implant-supported dentures. These are often much more cost-effective and, although the dentures wear out with time, how long will dental implants last can be a very long time.
Can Dental Implants Fail?
Anything is possible. And, yes, implants can and do fail from time to time for a variety of reasons. Implants fail most often during the early stages of integration, shortly after placement. But there are also occasions where implants fail for no apparent reason.
How long tooth implants last is highly dependent upon the biological process that allows the human body to accept treatment and for the implant to form a solid bond with the surrounding bone. If this doesn’t happen, failure is imminent. Remember that no surgical treatment works 100% of the time for 100% of people.
Why Are Dental Implants Worth Your Money?
While it’s true that dental implants cost more than traditional dentures, there are a number of reasons why they are worth the investment of your time and money including:
Dental implants are made from precisely-machined titanium, making them extremely biocompatible, durable, and long-lasting.
Traditional dentures, whether full or partial, can slide on occasion and become a nuisance to wear. If your bite is misaligned, improperly fitted dentures can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. Because implants are anchored within the jaw, they do not move and help to secure the restorations that they support, eliminating the need to use messy adhesives.
Enhanced Appearance and Smile
Implants look and feel like one’s own natural teeth. Because they stay secure, they help to restore –– and maintain –– your confidence in social situations.
If dentures do not fit properly, they can loosen and slip inside the mouth causing the wearer to speak inarticulately or to struggle with a lisp. Since dental implants are permanent, they secure the replacement teeth and allow the wearer to speak clearly and without a slur.
Improved Chewing Ability
Loose dentures can make it difficult to chew and properly break down your food. Just like your own teeth, dental implants enable you to eat a wide variety of nutritious, difficult-to-chew foods without pain or inconvenience.
Dental Implants Are a Worthwhile Investment in Your Health
All of these benefits together add up to a better, more comfortable experience than is possible with traditional dentures alone. Although the initial cost of treatment can be costly, that cost is offset by how long tooth implants last and the benefits obtained from having them.
For additional information and further reading on the many facets of dental implants, see these companion articles:
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