With more patients opting for dental implants as an alternative to bridges or dentures, one common concern is how long dental implants last. After all, the implants process is slightly more involved than other cosmetic dentistry procedures. So, how long do dental implants last?
Our dental professionals in Omaha, NE explain how dental implants work and what can affect their longevity here.
What Are Dental Implants?
If you don’t already know – dental implants are the most advanced solution for adult tooth loss.
Dental implants are small metal posts that replace the roots of a missing tooth. The implant is placed in or above the jawline and functions as an anchor for dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, and dentures.
With proper care, dental implants may last some patients a lifetime.
What Are the Parts of a Dental Implant?
The different parts of a dental implant include the fixture, abutment, and crown. These parts are designed to make the implant a permanent fixture in your mouth.
Implants - The implant, or fixture, is drilled into the jawbone so it sits below the gum line. Over time, the implant fuses the jawbone for a permanent hold. It may take several months for the implant to merge with the jawbone.
Abutment - The abutment sits along the gums and serves as a connector that holds the replacement crown in place. Abutments are fastened on or built into the top of the implant. Once the abutment is in place, the replacement tooth is added.
Crown - A dental crown is an artificial tooth that looks and functions like your natural teeth. In some cases, dentures or dental bridges are installed rather than a single crown. Crowns are either screwed or cemented onto the abutment.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Overall, dental implants can last anywhere from ten years to a lifetime. However, since dental implants are made up of three parts, consider each component individually.
The implant, or fixture piece, usually lasts the longest because it’s directly embedded into the jawbone. Because the implant isn’t exposed to things that cause damage, fixtures can last 25 years or more.
The other two components, the abutment and crown, are more susceptible to damage and may need to be replaced more often.
In general, dental crowns can last anywhere from 10-15 years. This is because the force of chewing and biting eventually wears down the crown’s surface. However, when this happens, your dentist can usually replace the crown without having to remove the implant.
Factors That Affect Dental Implant Longevity
Dental implants are a long-term replacement solution, though their longevity depends on several factors, including:
Patient lifestyle - Lifestyle factors, including smoking and diabetes, can be detrimental to your dental implants. Dental hygiene can also affect the lifespan of implant-supported replacements. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day will help reduce the risk of an infection compromising your implants.
Diet choices - Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is great for your oral health and may aid the healing process. After any stage of the dental implants process, patients should stick to foods that require minimal chewing. Avoid chewing near the implant for the first few weeks.
Gum disease - While dental implants themselves don’t decay, the surrounding gums can be affected by gum disease. Gum disease creates inflammation, which can pull your gums away from the implant. Not only does this ruin the appearance of your implants, but it can also progress the infection. Severe cases of periodontal disease cause jawbone deterioration, which increases the risk of implant failure.
Grinding or clenching - Undue stress, like grinding or clenching your teeth, can cause implant failure. For example, a person who constantly grinds their teeth is more likely to erode the surface of the dental crown.
Implant placement - A single crown located at the front of the mouth may last longer than one in the back. The force of chewing is typically placed on the back teeth, causing them to wear down faster.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Before dental implants can fully restore your bite, they must fuse with the jawbone. Here’s how dental implants work.
Your oral surgeon will place the implant in the jawbone, right below the gums. This minor procedure usually takes one to two hours. After this, it can take three to six months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone.
Once osseointegration (meaning the metal is fully fused with your jawbone) is complete, the artificial tooth (crown) is fastened.
Dental implant treatment may take several months and is not something you can have done in one visit.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
While every case is unique, the cost of dental implants averages between $1,000 to $3,000 per implant. However, bear in mind this is the cost of the implant itself.
Most abutments cost around $275 to $450 each. Dental crowns can range from $500 to $1,500, though this cost depends on the material of the replacement tooth and where it’s placed.
Other factors that affect how much dental implants cost include:
The number of implants
Type of replacement option
Extra dental procedures
Surgeon experience & geographic location
Are Dental Implants Worth the Cost?
Even though implants seem like a long and costly process, dental implants provide lasting stability. Plus, they typically act and look more natural than removable replacement options.
That said, before you invest in treatment, consider the following requirements for implant surgery:
You’re missing teeth. Implants are a permanent solution for patients with missing teeth or severe dental issues.
You have enough bone to support the implant. For implants to be an option, you must have enough bone in your jaw. If you’ve suffered minor bone loss, your dentist may recommend implants to prevent further deterioration. Some patients may require a bone graft resulting in more surgery and a longer healing time.
You’re in good general and oral health. Patients who take medications that suppress the immune system aren’t always suitable for dental implants. Habits that put too much pressure on the implants, such as grinding or clenching your teeth, can also cause long-term damage.
Dental Implants in Omaha, NE
For more information on dental implant treatment, or to see if they’re right for you, contact Eagle Run West Dental Group today!
While we coordinate our implant cases with a local oral surgeon, we provide regular check-ups and would be glad to answer your questions about how long dental implants last.