Dental implants can and should last a lifetime, but this does depend on several factors. These include a person’s medical health and also their daily oral hygiene routine. If there is a question mark over either of these aspects then an implant could fail at some later date. It also depends on how good the quality of the bone was at time of placement. Most implants have a very high rate of success and should last a considerable amount of time, especially as the materials and expertise have increased.
Medical issues which may affect implants
A person’s medical health needs to be taken into account as smokers are more likely to suffer implant failure, as are people with systemic diseases such as diabetes. This is because medical conditions can affect the health of the gum tissue, and the gums of smokers and diabetics are less able to fight off any infections such as periodontal disease. Their condition can cause vascular changes to the gum tissue which inhibit its ability to receive sufficient nutrients and thus less make them less able to repair and produce the necessary antibodies to fight bacteria. It’s quite likely that smokers may be recommended to give up the habit if they wish to have implants that last a lifetime. Although diabetics or anyone else suffering from diseases which affect the immune system doesn’t have this luxury of choice, they can help prolong the life of their implants by following a good oral hygiene routine.
Avoiding periodontal disease
Periodontal disease can affect the gums and the site of the implants in the same way that it affects the gums around natural teeth, so it’s important to ensure that any signs of the disease are eliminated before implant placement, and that care is taken to avoid periodontal disease in the future. The best way to ensure this is to visit the dentist regularly and to schedule cleanings with the hygienist at least every six months. The hygienist is the best person to clean the implants thoroughly which will lessen the chance of gum disease. They will also check that you are cleaning your teeth correctly.
Factors that lower life expectancy
There are several factors that will lower the life expectancy of implants:
This causes poor healing and poor gum health in the mouth. Thus any infection or disease will become worse and effect the teeth and implants. Smokers will have a larger chance of cancer, infections and bone destruction around their own teeth or dental implants
Uncontrolled diabetes reduces the healing of the gums and increases the chance of infection around teeth and dental implants.
- Radiation treatment for cancer
radiation treatment to the mouth will cause decreased blood flow and poor healing for the rest of life. The mouth is more prone to infection, and any small trauma or infection does not heal. Thus dental implants or teeth can be lost.
Good oral hygiene helps prolong the life of implants
Anyone who has had implants should be prepared to take extra care of them, and this includes having regular dental check-ups as well as following an oral hygiene routine. Teeth should be brushed after every meal, and a small toothbrush or interdental brush used to clean the abutments. Floss can also be used to clean around the gums and abutments and prosthetic teeth. Removable prosthesis should be taken out of the mouth so that the abutments can be cleaned and flossed thoroughly, while fixed prosthesis should be cleaned as thoroughly as natural teeth, and the interdental brush and floss can be used to clean in between and around the abutments.