Good news! With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, dental implants can last a lifetime.
The dental implant is the titanium ‘root’ that is inserted into the bone under the gum and acts as the support for the crown on top. Titanium is used for its biomechanical qualities as the body’s natural bone and tissues actually bond to the artificial implant, a process called ‘osseointegration’. It is one of the few metals that allow for this integration and can last a lifetime with proper care. On the other hand, The implant restoration (crown or bridge) does not have a lifetime lifespan but, once again, with good oral hygiene, can certainly achieve 10-15 years plus.
There are circumstances which can affect the lifespan of an implant, namely
- History of Periodontal disease
- Osteoporosis and the use of bisphosphonate drugs to treat this
- Poor oral hygiene
Your dentist will discuss these with you. It is critical to look after your oral health. As gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, a condition called peri-implantitis is the leading cause of dental implant failure. Peri-implantitis refers to the loss of bone and supporting tissues around the implant from inflammation and disease. It is most certainly a condition that you want to avoid in the first place rather than having to treat!
As with any medical device, there are failure risks, but the success rate is above 90% with the correct care. As your natural tooth did not last a lifetime, without good oral hygiene practices your implant may not either. Just as you would maintain a prestige car with regular service and the best fuels and cleaning products, so you must look after your dental implant! This means twice daily brushing and the daily use of floss to clean around your implant and 6 monthly visits to your dentist for a check-up and hygiene appointment.
In addition, see a dentist/prosthodontist who offers the highest quality implant systems as these manufacturers offer a warranty and follow their care instructions. You should hopefully make your dental implant last a long time!