How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Posted on: 14 March 2016

If you're looking at replacing missing teeth, your dentist may recommend dental implants as being the best long-term solution with the best cosmetic results. While effective, this procedure doesn't come cheap, however. According to Dental Guide Australia, the average combined cost of the post and the tooth that makes up an implant is between $5,000-7,000. Will an implant last long enough to give you good value for money?

The Implant Post

The foundation of a dental implant is its post. This post is embedded into your gum's bone; over time, the bone will grow around it so that the post fixes firmly into place. Typically, implant posts are made from metals such as titanium; however, it is now also possible to use posts made from a ceramic material, zirconia.

Both of these materials are extremely strong and are biocompatible. This means that the body usually won't reject the materials and allows the bone to grow around them. Once a post is embedded into the bone, it typically becomes very stable, making this a good long-term solution to securely hold a false tooth.

The technology used in today's dental implants is relatively new, and there are no set timelines on how long an implant post will last. However, you are typically looking at decades of use. As an example, the first man to receive a modern day dental implant, Gösta Larsson, died forty years after having implant surgery and had no issues with his implants, according to the Dental Community.

The Implant Tooth

The crown that fits on to the implant post to create your false tooth may be a little more fragile than the post. Like any other false tooth, it may become damaged if you have an accident or injury and may need replacement during the implant's lifetime.

It's also important to remember that crowns can't be strong as your natural teeth. According to Smile, crowns have an average life of between 5-15 years, depending on the wear they get and your standards of oral hygiene.

Implant Failure

While the component parts of an implant are designed to last for a long time, there is a chance that an implant procedure may fail for other reasons. Typically, this isn't due to issues with the implant post or crown but to underlying problems in your mouth or with your oral health.

For example, according to Dental Guide Australia, an implant may not work if the post doesn't integrate into the bone correctly. Oral health issues such as gum disease and oral habits such as smoking may also cause bone loss or infection that affect the implant's ability to stay in place securely.

Tip: It's important to follow your dentist's instructions on oral care while you are having implant work done. This is especially important after the post has been inserted and is integrating into the bone. For example, if you go against your dentist's advice and smoke, the implant site may not be able to heal correctly.