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01 Feb 2016

How long does a dental implant last?

Dental implant, for a number of reasons, is arguably the best treatment for people who have suffered a tooth loss.

This type of treatment represents an investment of money, time and effort that lead patients to wonder about the longevity of implants compared to other types of treatments.

There are many factors that can affect the duration of the implant in the patient’s mouth. According to the American Dental Association, the half-life of an implant is 25 years.

The objective of the implant will be to integrate into the bone, a process known as osseointegration, and in this way it will last as long as the bone lasts.

How long does a dental implant last?

Compared to other types of treatments, it can be said that they are a more durable option. For example, bridges have a half-life of 7 to 10 years and removable prostheses are normally misadapted every 5 to 10 years.

¿cuánto dura el implante dental? Nart clinica dental te responde

Deterioration of oral structures, such as the supporting bone, is one of the most significant causes limiting the longevity of removable prostheses.

When a tooth loss occurs, the bone does not have any stimuli that cause repair and maintenance naturally. This causes progressive bone loss.

Dental implants will not only allow the replacement of the tooth inside the oral cavity providing proper functionality and aesthetics but will also help preserve the bone structure for an average of 25 years or as long as the implant is in the patient’s mouth.

Factors affecting the durability of a dental implant

There are a number of factors that affect the durability of this type of treatment:

Implant placement

First, a good placement of the dental implant is essential, surrounded by quality bone and gum.

The quality and quantity of the bone are determining factors

It is also necessary that when placing the implant, your dentist knows what type of bone it is, what quality it presents and how much bone there is, since this can also influence its duration.

Patience lifestyle: tobacco

Another factor to take into account is the lifestyle that each one leads. For example, tobacco is not a beneficial factor that helps the integration of the implant with the bone, in fact it can produce the opposite.

Tobacco causes a slowdown in the process of bone healing and the process of osseointegration, in addition to weakening the bone, and can cause an infection. Therefore, tobacco reduces the success rate of implants.

Oral hygiene

One of the most important conditions for the implant to last in the mouth as long as possible is hygiene.

If having placed an implant the patient does not have good hygiene, bacteria will begin to accumulate in the area of the implant, creating inflammation of the mucosa or gum. This inflammation, which is known as mucositis, and if not reduced or treated, can lead to peri-implantitis, which is inflammation in the area of the implant that is also accompanied by bone loss. If too much bone is lost, the implant will lose its anchorage and will most likely fail.

To have good oral hygiene and prevent this from happening, the ideal is to follow the oral hygiene instructions and go to the check-ups given by your dentist. The instructions to be followed will be:

  • Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day.
  • Use of dental floss and/or interdental brushes.

Systematic diseases

It should also be borne in mind that there are certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes can decrease the duration of the dental implant, since there is a relationship between the disease and the healing and regeneration processes.

Medication that can affect bone metabolism

There are certain types of medication, such as bisphosphonates or antidepressants, that can alter bone metabolism and bone quality.

Implant crown

Apart from the implant, we must also take into account the crown on the implant (the tooth or molar), which usually lasts a little less, an average of 10-15 years but if it is lost it is easier to replace than if the implant fails. The duration of the implant crown may depend on the material from which it is made. The most common complication in implantology is the loosening of the crowns on implants and the small ceramic fractures of the covers on implants.

Therefore, for an implant to last as long as possible in the mouth, good oral hygiene is essential to avoid possible infections that weaken the tissue and structures that surround the implant (gum and bone) until causing its loss. It is also essential to go to the scheduled appointments with the dentist.

Dental implant Vs. Natural teeth

Despite the success of implants, the most recent literature recommends preserving teeth as much as possible.

Success rate

The success rate of implants (96% at 10 years; 92% at 20 years) does not exceed the success rate of compromised but adequately treated and maintained teeth. Thus, the decision to extract a tooth and place a dental implant must be made carefully.

Technological advances

Technological advances have allowed an improvement in recent decades in dental implants, making them a reliable replacement for missing teeth.

This success has led many dentists to recommend this type of treatment as an alternative to other treatments that could be performed on teeth with a poor prognosis.

Even so, even in the most complicated cases, the teeth to be treated can be maintained if periodontal treatment is carried out addressing the underlying problem causing the pathology, usually periodontitis.

Recommendations on dental implant

The extraction of a tooth is an irreversible treatment and once performed, the option of placing an implant involves a series of complications (loss of osseointegration and peri-implantitis) that must be taken into account.

Thus, the decision to keep natural teeth properly treated and maintained for as long as possible seems to provide a solution that can decrease the risks of long-term treatment.

The decision to keep natural teeth properly treated and maintained for as long as possible seems to provide a solution that can decrease the risks of long-term treatment.

Before dental implants became a viable and reliable solution for replacing missing teeth, patients had to settle for other types of treatments such as dentures that had to be replaced as the bone structure that supported them changed, or by lowering neighboring teeth for fixed bridges.

Durability of the dental implant

The durability of the implant is one of the most significant advantages over other treatments such as bridges, removable or complete prostheses.

Although they are treatments that can last a lifetime, their durability depends on the adequacy of the implant in each patient and the care taken of the implant.

Thus, the same conditions that contribute to tooth loss (such as periodontal disease or periodontitis) can easily lead to implant failure via peri-implantitis. Proper brushing, flossing and interdental brushes, and regular checkups will help prolong the longevity of the implant.

Dr. José Nart Molina

Dr. Jose Nart Molina is a specialist in periodontics and dental implants. He has a degree in Dentistry from the UIC (2006) He also has a doctorate in Dentistry from the UIC, certified in periodontics and implants by the University of Tufts University (2007), accredited by the European Federation of Periodontology, President of the Spanish Society of Periodontics and Osseointegration and Vice Dean of Research.

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