The lifespan of dental implants varies, but with proper oral hygiene and dental care, the implant or fixture itself can last a lifetime. Dental implants are made of three main components—the implant screw, abutment, and crown. Some of those components have different projected lifespans. Your health, underlying conditions, and other factors can influence the implant’s longevity as well.
The Importance of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer more than a cosmetic fix to a tooth problem. They play a vital role in the long-term health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. The dental implant screw or fixture simulates the tooth’s natural root by stimulating the bone tissue. Bone and tissue then grow around the implant, securing it into the jaw bone.
The dental implant’s abutment and crown provide pressure against the bone to prevent the reabsorption of bone tissue and provide a natural feeling artificial tooth. Once the dental implant procedure is complete, the entire dental implant framework maintains your bone structure and strength, so you can eat and function normally.
The dental implant also acts as a placeholder by maintaining the alignment of the remaining natural teeth. Dental implants offer a natural feel when chewing, talking, and smiling. Their care is similar to that of your natural teeth. Regular brushing, careful flossing, and regular dental checkups keep them healthy and strong.
The lifespan of Dental Implant Components
The process of getting a dental implant requires several phases as different components are placed and allowed to heal in between phases. These components are made of different materials, affecting their expected lifespan.
The lifespan of an Implant or Fixture
The dental implant, sometimes called the fixture or body, looks like a screw that’s implanted into the jawbone. After a few weeks or months, the bone and tissue grow around the implant, integrating into the structure of the jaw.
Fixtures are typically made of highly biocompatible titanium alloys. Titanium functions well with natural tissues and can last a lifetime if the implant receives regular care. Proper oral hygiene like daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental checkups, can keep the fixture functioning much like the tooth’s natural root for the remainder of your life.
The lifespan of an Abutment
The abutment acts as a connector between the fixture and the crown. It’s placed after the bone and gums have healed around the fixture. Like the fixture, it’s made of titanium or a titanium alloy, giving it the same potential lifespan.
The lifespan of the Crown
The crown is the part of the dental implant that you see when you smile. It’s typically made of porcelain or another hard, tooth-colored substance to mimic the appearance of the surrounding teeth. They’re made in different colors to fully integrate visually and functionally into the mouth.
Crowns aren’t as durable as the fixture or abutment, typically lasting about ten years. However, the crown can be replaced without replacing the fixture. It’s a much shorter process than when getting the original dental implant and is a normal part of crown care, even for those that are not part of a dental implant.
Factors that Affect the Lifespan of Dental Implants
Dental implants can last a lifetime, but there are reasons why one may need work or replacing. Some pre-existing conditions affect the body’s ability to heal or compromise the growth necessary for the implant process, like:
- uncontrolled diabetes
- a thin or weak jawbone
- teeth grinding
Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and poor oral hygiene, can also reduce the chances of implant success.
A Lifetime of Better Oral Health
Dental implants offer one of the safest and longest-lasting solutions to tooth replacement. They also offer a natural look that helps maintain your oral health. Consult with an experienced oral surgeon to get an accurate assessment of how your pre-existing conditions or health could affect a dental implant. Contact Good Samaritan Dental Implant Institute at 561-833-6880 to schedule a consultation and start your journey to a beautiful smile and long-term oral health.