Do Dental Implants Last a Lifetime?

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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 a later date.  It also depends on how good the quality of the bone was at a time of placement.
Most implants have a very high rate of success and should last a considerable amount of time, notably as the materials and expertise have increased.

Medical issues which may affect implants

Patients who smoke and have systemic diseases such as diabetes are more likely to have implant failure.

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.

It’s quite likely that smokers may be recommended to give up the habit if they wish to have implants that last a lifetime.

 

Avoiding periodontal disease

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.

Factors that lower life expectancy 

Several factors will lower the life expectancy of implants:

  • Smoking:
    It can cause poor healing and poor gum health in the mouth. Thus any infection or disease will become worse and affect the teeth and implants. Smokers will have a more substantial chance of cancer, infections and bone destruction around their  teeth or dental implants
  • Diabetes:
    Uncontrolled diabetes reduces the healing of the gums and increases the likelihood 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 disease 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. Brushed your teeth 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.  The removable prosthesis should be taken out of the mouth so that the abutments can be cleaned and flossed thoroughly as natural teeth, and the interdental brush and floss can be used to clean in between and around the abutments.

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