Dental implants are a highly effective way to replace teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implants are directly fixed to your jawbone, allowing for a stronger bite, and the ability to eat tough foods that you love. They also look incredibly natural.
But how long do dental implants last, exactly? In this article, we’ll explore the typical lifespan of dental implants, and why they’re so durable.
How long do dental implants last?
To explain how long dental implants last, we need a quick rundown on how they work. Essentially, dental implants are composed of two different elements—a titanium screw that is drilled into the gum cavity and jawbone, and a dental crown that fastens to the screw. Titanium is an incredibly hardy material, and because the screw eventually fuses with the jawbone, it should last for a lifetime. The dental crown, however, is typically made of resin and porcelain, which eventually breaks down. A typical dental crown should last between 5 to 15 years.
What affects how long a dental implant lasts?
While the titanium screw is very durable, the connection to the jaw bone can be weakened if you are not looking after your teeth. Regular dental maintenance (brushing, flossing, mouth rinses) is all that is needed to preserve the appearance and function of your implant for a long time.
How long an implant will remain successful is affected by the following:
The foods that you eat
The foods that can damage regular teeth can also damage dental crowns. This includes hard foods like candy, nuts granola, and ice, as well as chewy foods like caramels, tough steak, jerky, and dates. Sugary foods and drinks also encourage the growth of plaque and harmful bacteria, which eats away at your crowns.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat these foods, you’ll just need to be mindful of how much you eat them. But this is the same with regular teeth.
Brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day will help to keep your dental crowns in good condition. When you brush, you should pay attention to the areas around the crowns themselves.
The position of the dental implants
If the dental implant is overloaded with bite force (too many other teeth are missing), it will deteriorate faster.
Teeth grinding and nail biting
If you’re unfortunate enough to be a teeth grinder, your dental crowns will wear down faster. If this is something you do at night, you might consider purchasing a mouth guard to protect your crowns against excessive wear.
Nail biting can also eventually damage teeth, and is a great way to get germs into your mouth (something especially concerning with COVID).
Drinking and smoking
Heavily drinking or smoking can also promote certain bacteria in your mouth, which can eat away at your crowns and gums, causing problems for the implant to bone connection.
Why are dental implants so durable?
Titanium has an incredibly high strength-to-weight ratio (it’s stronger than some steels), and doesn’t corrode.1 The strength and durability of titanium makes it an effective material for the retaining teeth, bridges and dentures.
How much does it cost to replace a dental implant?
The good news is that if an implant fails, it can be replaced with another one. The cost for implant placement is between $2000-2500.
How much does it cost to replace a dental crown?
If your implant-retained dental crown has been damaged and needs to be replaced, you can expect to pay anywhere between $2000-2500 for a replacement.
- Why Titanium is so useful, TutaPoint