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The Durability of Dental Implants: How Long Do They Last?

Dental implants reign supreme as the best option to replace individual missing teeth, consecutive missing teeth, or entire upper or lower arches of teeth. While dental implants offer patients a host of benefits, one of the most significant benefits is the durability of dental implants. 

Patients who practice good oral hygiene, including seeing the dentist biannually for exams, evaluations, screenings, and cleanings can expect their dental implants to last at least 20 years. However, it is very common for dental implants to last a lifetime.

It is therefore no surprise that studies have confirmed that patients who have received dental implants report high satisfaction with their dental restorations, a full ten years after placement. 

Why Dental Implants Are More Durable Than Other Options for Missing Teeth

Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone. After surgery, the jawbone and the soft tissues will begin to grow up the implanted screw. This process, called osseointegration, mimics the growth of the jawbone and soft tissues up a natural tooth root. The result is an artificial tooth root that is securely anchored to the jaw and ultimately to the abutment and dental crown affixed to it.  Indeed, the implant integrates with your body’s own bone and tissue. 

 Dental Implant Components: Reasons for Replacement

The implanted screw or post should never need to be replaced. The only reason that dental implants would need to be replaced is if one of the following occurs:

  • Development of Periodontal Disease
  • Development of Infection Near the Implant (Peri-Implantitis)
  • Chronic Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
  • Unmanaged Diabetes
  • Cancer Treatment That Weakens the Implant
  • Trauma to the Face/Jaw

However, over time, the dental crown attached to the implant may need to be replaced, just as dental crowns that protect natural teeth need to be replaced occasionally. If the crown cracks or chips, you’ll need to have it replaced. 

Over time, the crown may also become discolored. Although dental crowns are cavity-resistant, they are not immune from staining. A discolored crown will need to be replaced, as whitening products and treatments will not lighten a dental restoration. 

Like normal teeth, dental crowns are also subject to wear and tear. If your crown is significantly worn down, your dentist will notify you that it is time to replace it. 

Occasionally, the abutment may also need to be replaced. The abutment is a small device that attaches the implant to the dental crown. Although rare, the abutment can break, requiring replacement.

Cost-Effectiveness of Dental Implants: Durability is Key

Because well-cared-for dental implants are so durable, they can be more cost-effective than other dental restorations that have a shorter lifespan. Consider for example, that a dental bridge may need to be replaced every 5-7 years. The cost of replacing the bridge frequently can make it more expensive than replacing the missing teeth with dental implants, or an implant-supported bridge.  

Likewise, because dentures also have a much shorter lifespan, you’ll need to replace them every 7-10 years, which means that you’ll need to pay for new sets regularly. 

Dental implants can also significantly improve your oral health, which can prevent additional costly expenditures. Because dental implants stop any further loss of jawbone, and may even promote new bone growth, you’ll reduce your risk of further tooth loss. This can prevent additional costs for extractions and restorations.  

Financing Dental Implants

Dental implants are more expensive than less durable dental restorations. Because dental implants involve surgery, anesthesia, extensive imaging, and fabrication of crowns, they are more costly than traditional bridges or dentures.  

Unfortunately, dental implants are rarely covered by dental insurance. However, funds in your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts can often be used to finance dental implants for yourself, your spouse, or your children. Third-party financing options such as CareCredit can also be used to pay for dental implants. 

Meridian Dental Group provides dental services, including dental implants, same day crowns, teeth whitening, and more, to the Midtown Manhattan area. Dental health and prevention is their top priority because a beautiful smile starts with a healthy smile!

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