Essentially, a dental implant is a device that is used to replace a missing tooth. The implant itself is placed onto the jawbone and acts as replacement of the tooth root. A prosthetic called a crown is attached to the dental implant. Generally, a dental implant is considered a permanent fixture in the mouth.
However, while considered one of the most dependable treatments, not many people know all the basics of the procedure. For instance, not many are aware how much dental implants cost or if they are good candidates for the procedure to begin with. Also, while dental implants have a 98% success rate, they can also fail in some cases.
What Factors Can Affect Dental Implant Longevity?
It is possible for a dental implant to fail in the months or years following the procedure. There are several factors that can contribute to this. Some of the key factors that can affect dental implant longevity include:
- How long dental implants can last
- The possible reasons they can fail
How Long Dental Implants Can Last
Dental implants are designed to be permanent. Since they are made to fuse with the jawbone (in a process called osseointegration), they bond strongly with the bone tissue. Once the osseointegration is complete, the implant and the surrounding bone will become fused.
The implant then functions as the artificial tooth root and forms a solid foundation for the artificial tooth (also known as crown). While the implant is permanent, the crown may be replaced due to wear and tear. Around 50 to 80 of crowns may need replacement in 15 to 20 years.
Possible Reasons Dental Implants Can Fail
Most dental implants last a lifetime. However, they can also fail in some cases. Generally, implant failure occurs when something interferes with the osseointegration or healing process. Some of the factors that can lead to dental implant failure include:
Insufficient maintenance and care.
Oral hygiene is just as crucial for your dental implants as they are for your real teeth. Accumulation of plaque can result in gum disease that can damage both your gums and jawbone. When plaque affects the areas surrounding the implant, a condition known as peri-implant disease occurs.
Fortunately, peri-implant disease can be reversed in its early stages. Left untreated however, it can progress to a condition known as peri-implantitis and eventually lead to dental implant failure. That said, the importance of practicing good oral hygiene cannot be overstated. Good oral hygiene includes:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Limiting your intake of sugary foods
- Visiting your dentist regularly for routine check-ups
If you grind your teeth or you have occlusal trauma, it might lead to fracturing of your dental implants. Not only that, both conditions might also cause the fracturing of the crown or loosening of the screw. Trauma and repeated grinding might cause the implant to move which can affect the osseointegration process.
Some research indicates that dental implants have a lower success rate among individuals who are heavy smokers. Some studies also found out that the overall implant failure rate in smokers is at 11 percent while it is only 5 percent among those who do not smoke.
Smoking has been known to cause implant failure because it can interfere with the blood flow to the affected area. This in turn significantly impacts both the osseointegration and healing process. In addition, smoking is also considered a risk factor for gum disease.
Some medical conditions have been associated with dental implant failure. Some of the medical conditions include:
- Weakened immune system
- Bleeding disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders like atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure