Dental implants have been in existence since 1952 when the Swedish Orthopedic Surgeon Ingvar Brånemark first invented it. This shows that it a durable method of tooth restoration as it has lasted for that long and it is still popular in recent times. The constant research and improvements over the years have made dental implants a remarkable development in the field of dental technology.
Today, dental implants have the look and feel of natural teeth, preserving your precious smile, and are very durable. They perform normal teeth functions such as helping you to eat flawlessly. They can also make you speak well as your words would come out correctly. Dental implants also do not become loose at inappropriate moments like dentures sometimes do. And most importantly, they improve general oral health.
Since implants are adjudged to be so remarkable if you are thinking of having one in the nearest future, you might be wondering, how durable is it really? Some have claimed that implants can last for a lifetime, but is that really true or is just an exaggeration to boost market sales? We shall consider all that, but first, let’s look at the components of a dental implant and how it works.
Dental Implants Components
A dental implant consists of three fundamental components. Each of the components has a specific purpose. The components are namely;
- Implants – The implant serves as the tooth root and is inserted surgically into the jawbone. In a case where the jawbone has been severely damaged, bone grafting is done on the jawbone to ensure that the jawbones can firmly hold the implant in place. An implant post is made of titanium.
- Abutment – An abutment serves the connector between the implant and the crown. It is fixed to the implant and it provides support for the crown holding it in place.
- Crown – The crown is an artificial tooth that can be made from different components including, ceramic, porcelain, and gold. It is attached to the abutment and gives off the same appearance as a natural tooth. The crown and abutment are more likely to undergo damage than the implant itself. This is due to the fact that they are the exposed parts of the dental implant. Now we know what a dental implant is, let us find out how lasting they could really be.
How Durable Are Dental Implants?
An implant can last for up to 25 years or more. That is a fact. But there are a number of factors that can determine how long your dental implants would last. Some of this factors include;
- Proper Oral Hygiene Routine – Good oral practices such as brushing the teeth regularly and flossing can help in keeping your teeth in good conditions. Also, a regular visit to the dentist for check-ups at least once in 6 months is necessary. This good oral hygiene routine can make your crown last for more than 15 years, though it would be susceptible to the normal wear that occurs in the teeth over time.
- Location of Implant – When you place your implants at the back of your mouth, there are higher chances of you experiencing dental implant failure. This is because the teeth at the back of your mouth engaged in grueling tasks such as chewing.
- Bad Chewing Habits – Biting or chewing on really hard items such as pencils or pen tips can damage your teeth. Also, completely avoid straining your teeth with bad practices such as opening crown corks or other things with your teeth.
- Your lifestyle and general body health are also very important.
- Your Dentist – Yes, your choice in who carries out the dental implant procedure for you can play a major role in making it last. An experienced dental surgeon has a very insignificant chance of performing an implant that would not last. Hence, the more skillful and experienced your dentist is, the better for you.
To crown it all up, the very first implant patient who had four implants insertions, still had them in use for over 40 years after they were fixed until his death in the year 2006. It actually lasted him a lifetime.
Factors That Can Cause Dental Implants Failure
There is also a possibility that implants can either break or become bent regardless of the fact that they are made of titanium. That is why it is advisable not to crack down on or chew on hard materials. In a case where this occurs, it can lead to implant failure. But this is a very rare condition. Your dentist can, however, salvage the situation and the damaged implant can be replaced. But, you have to visit your dentist immediately you notice anything.
Your dentist works by building up the bones and gum tissues that surrounding your implant. This is done by removing the damaged implant and then allowing time for you to heal. When the area is completely healed, then a new implant can be inserted. A bone graft might be suggested to improve the success rate of the new implant.
A bone allergy or low bone density not sufficient enough to support an implant can, however, result in yet another failure. But this is also very rare.
Just as certain factors can determine how long your dental implants can last, there are also other factors that can determine if your dental implant would eventually fail. Some of these factors include;
- Medical Conditions – People who are suffering from diabetes, or who have other prior existing medical conditions such as cancer run at a risk of experiencing a premature dental implant failure.
- Poor Oral Hygiene Routine – Negligence of proper oral hygiene practices such as brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste or flossing, can eventually lead to gum disease which is harmful to dental implants.
It is very important to take good care of your implant so you do not have a premature dental implant failure. A professional dental implant service should be consulted for the procedure to attain the best and safest results. It is also imperative you visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. All these can contribute to making your implant last for a very long time and even very possibly a lifetime.