How long do dental implants last? Decades, if not a lifetime, as long as you care for them properly. Dental implant longevity can be extremely predictable with the right daily home care routine and regular checkups. But they aren’t invincible. Here are some things you’ll need to know to make sure your implants last as long as possible:
Factors Affecting the Longevity of Dental Implants
Your Home Care Routine—Dental implants need to be treated exactly like natural teeth. That means brushing and flossing around them daily and scheduling regular checkups to have them cleaned.
Although implants can’t get cavities, they are still susceptible to gum disease. Make sure you’re using appropriate home care products—like water flossers, floss threaders, or similar items—to reach spaces between and around every implant where a toothbrush doesn’t reach.
If you have a multi-tooth restoration like All-on-4 implants or an implant bridge, be sure to clean under the restoration between it, your gums, and your implants.
Gum Disease—The implant form of periodontal disease is called “peri-implantitis.” Peri-implantitis is the greatest risk to dental implant longevity, as it is the #1 cause of implant failure.
Like typical gum disease affecting natural teeth, gum disease around dental implants causes the attachment tissue and bone around them to pull away and dissolve. In time, there will be too little bone to stabilize the implants, causing them to become loose or fall out.
Symptoms of peri-implantitis include bleeding gums, swelling, redness, tartar buildup, bad breath, and exposed implant surfaces.
Bone Loss/Lack of Bone—Inadequate bone tissue can come from previous gum disease, trauma, and even extracted teeth. It’s important to make sure that implants are only installed in places where there is already adequate bone height. Otherwise, bone grafting in conjunction with your implant therapy will be required.
At Altrock Fabb Dental, we will pre-screen every dental implant patient to make sure they have enough healthy bone in their mouth to support dental implants. By caring for your implants after installation, you can prevent unnecessary bone loss from peri-implantitis.
The Type of Dental Implants You Get—Not all dental implant designs are the same. For example, if you get “mini” dental implants, they will offer less support and not be able to anchor heavy load-bearing restorations. And if you have an off-brand appliance that’s cheaply fabricated overseas, it may lack compatible pieces that make maintenance or repairs impossible in the future.
The Experience of Your Dentist—Working with an experienced San Diego implant dentist is key. If your dentist has little experience in placing implants, there may be a higher risk of failure. Especially if you have bone loss, need grafting, infection, or require a sinus lift.
Altrock Fabb Dental has helped place thousands of dental implants in San Diego. When you visit our practice, you can rest assured knowing that your smile is in the hands of some of the most experienced dentists in the area.
Tips for Increasing Dental Implant Lifespan
Here are some straightforward tips to make sure your dental implants last as long as possible:
- Schedule regular cleanings at least once every six months
- Floss around every implant every day
- Brush twice a day for two minutes
- Don’t use your dental implants for anything other than eating (opening packages, biting nails, etc.)
- Sleep in a night guard/bite splint to avoid excess stress on your smile
Hypothetically speaking, we want our San Diego dental implant patients to be able to keep their implants for the rest of their life. With good oral hygiene and regular preventative care, implants have an extremely high success rate of 98-99%, which is much higher than that of any other modern-day dental restoration.
Worried About Dental Implant Longevity?
If you have questions about how long dental implants last or are worried about your implant investment, contact Altrock Fabb Dental in San Diego. Our experienced dentists will show you how to increase the longevity of dental implants and other restorations, providing you with the best return on investment when it comes to your smile.