Do dental implants last forever? The question is a crucial one when you’re considering an expensive and invasive dental procedure. But, as with most things to do with medical procedures, the answer isn’t always so straightforward. Although it’s true that many people who have dental implants will see them last a lifetime, how long they last is as much to do with your health and habits—some of which you have control over and some you don’t. It’s best to get a free consultation at your local dental clinic to get the full lowdown, but in the meantime, let’s look at what can shorten the life of your implants.
What Affects How Long A Dental Implant Lasts?
Dental implants generally have a high success rate because there is a rigorous examination and consultation process to ensure that a dental implant can be placed successfully. During the process, the dentist will want to have a thorough understanding of your:
The answer to ‘do dental implants last forever’ if you smoke is likely to be a resounding ‘no’. Studies show that different levels of smoking affect the longevity of dental implants. Many dentists will not place implants in smokers at all—so if you want dental implants, you’ll seriously have to consider stopping smoking not just for the duration of treatment but long term.
Suitable candidates for implants must have good oral health. Any signs of active gum disease or tooth decay must be successfully treated before the dental implant treatment can begin. Otherwise, it’s a bit like wallpapering over crumbling walls!
Dental implants are placed inside the jawbone, fusing with the bone to form a strong substitute tooth root. The health of the jawbone is crucial, but it can be compromised. This may be due to advanced gum disease (periodontal disease) that destroys the gums, teeth ligaments and the alveolar bone—the part of the jawbone that holds the teeth. Or bone loss occurs naturally around the socket of a missing tooth.
The upshot is that if there is no bone, there is nowhere to place a dental implant as it can’t be put in something that doesn’t exist! However, this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the implant road for you because bone loss can be augmented with a bone graft—a standard dental procedure for implants later.
A chronic medical condition, such as a blood-clotting disorder or diabetes, can increase the risk of your dental implant failing. But, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis—so book in with a dentist that offers free consultation appointments if you have a long-term illness to get an expert opinion.
While dental implants don’t require any special care, you must maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine of twice daily brushing and flossing. Sure, the artificial tooth will not decay, but gum disease can still be an issue—and if you have a dental implant, there is a condition called peri-implantitis that affects the tissue around it. In the same way, as gum disease destroys the tissue surrounding natural teeth, peri-implantitis acts the same way with dental implants. Eventually, it can lead to implant failure.
The Bottom Line
Do dental implants last forever? No. But with good care, a dental implant can last a long time – just like a natural tooth. Find out more and book a dental consultation near you. Call us now on (02) 9100 0831.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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