Dental implants are often hailed as a permanent tooth replacement solution. In general, this is an accurate description. Titanium implants are expected to last a lifetime in most patients. However, there are some exceptions and nuances to the term “permanent” that you should be aware of.
The Two Main Parts of Dental Implants
Dental implants are composed of two main parts. First, the titanium implant posts with screw-like bases are embedded in the jaw bone to provide strong and lasting support. These implants support the second part, a crown, bridge, or full arch replacement that provides the appearance and functionality of natural teeth.
The titanium dental implant itself is permanent in most cases, generally lasting the remainder of your lifetime. Titanium has a unique property that promotes osseointegration, where the bone naturally bonds with the dental implant to provide an incredibly strong and reliable foundation.
The crowns, bridges, or full arch replacements that the dental implants support are not quite so permanent. In general, they can last around 10 to 15 years. Though prepared to use the dental implant as a foundation, these crowns and bridges are essentially the same as those that use natural teeth as a base.
They are made with porcelain, ceramic, or other materials. The lifespan of the tooth replacement will depend on the specific material used, along with individual factors that contribute to wear and tear over the years.
Once the crown, bridge, or full arch replacement has become worn or damaged, it can be replaced. Affixing a new tooth replacement to an existing dental implant is a relatively straightforward process. You do not have to undergo implant surgery again, as the dental implants themselves are still there.
While dental implants are reliable and provide an effective treatment option in many cases, they do not have a 100% success rate. Like other treatment options, complications can arise that lead to the failure of the implants.
Most of these failed implant procedures are caused by underlying conditions that cause complications. Many patients can choose to move forward with implant surgery despite an uncertain outcome. Jaw bone deterioration, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other conditions can reduce the likelihood of long-term success.
Improper oral care can also contribute to implant failure through gum disease. Brushing and flossing are still essential, even with replacement teeth, as they prevent the accumulation of bacteria that causes gum disease. This condition can eventually weaken the bone around implants, causing failure.
Understanding Your Outlook for Dental Implants
If you are weighing your options for dental implants and would like to know more about whether you might be a good candidate for a successful treatment, you should reach out to an oral surgeon for a consultation.
The oral surgeons at Los Angeles Center for Oral & Maxillofacial provide consistent success for our patients by using the best available technology and methods.
Read more about dental implants to learn what the process is like from start to finish and to better understand what you can expect.