Dental implants have an impressive success rate. Many studies claim that the long-term success rates of dental implants are higher than any other dental treatment available today. That means a dental implant will last longer than even a simple cavity filling in many cases.
While these statistics are encouraging, there are many factors that influence the long-term success of dental implants. Some implants have a much lower success rate due to complicating factors. This blog will discuss many of these factors and how they influence the lifespan of your dental implant.
What is Dental Implant Success?
A successful dental implant is one that maintains a solid connection with the jawbone and functions well. Most long-term success studies look at the state of dental implants at 10 years. Research studies show a 10-year success rate of dental implants at higher than 90%.
Implant failure occurs when the implant loses its connection with the bone and simply falls out.
What Factors Shorten the Lifespan of a Dental Implant?
There are several risk factors that can make dental implants more likely to fail. These factors give your implant a higher risk for failure and a statistically shorter lifespan.
- Gum Disease - In the same way that gum disease destroys a tooth’s connection to the jawbone, it can destroy a dental implants connection to the jawbone. This gum disease can be caused by plaque and tartar buildup, food impaction, or even a tiny piece of dental cement from the implant crown. Gum disease around a dental implant is called peri-implantitis. Research studies show that peri-implantitis is the leading cause of implant failure.
- Diabetes - Patients who suffer from diabetes have a higher risk for implant failure due to inadequate blood supply to the surgical site. Problems with blood flow are what lead to blindness and amputations in severe diabetics. Good blood flow is required for proper healing and bone attachment to a dental implant. When there is not good blood flow, a solid connection is not formed, and the implant is more likely to fail. Diabetes also increases the risk for gum disease, which is another factor that shortens implant lifespans.
- Smoking - Nicotine constricts blood vessels, which leads to decreased blood flow. Similar to diabetic patients, dental implant patients who smoke do not have great blood flow to the site of the surgery. They experience the same impaired bone attachment as diabetics and the same high risk for failure.
- Long-term Use of PPIs - Proton pump inhibitors are a class of medications used to treat acid reflux. If taken for an extended period of time, they can affect the quality of bone due to their effect on the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals from the stomach. Researchers are currently studying the effect of long-term PPI use on dental implant success. Early results suggest a correlation between long-term PPI use and “unexplained” dental implant failure.
- Inappropriate Bite Forces - Implants are very strong! When they function properly, they can produce bite forces as strong as, if not stronger than, a natural tooth. They are not invincible, though. It is important to see a dental implant expert when having the final restoration placed on the implant. The way the implant bites is just as important as keeping it free of gum disease. This is mainly the concern of your dentist. However, you can alert your dentist if you feel any unusual pressure on the dental implant when you bite your teeth together. The wrong bite forces can damage the connection between the implant and the jawbone, even leading to loosening and implant failure. At Wellness Dental, our dentists are implant experts who understand the importance of the correct bite forces on every single dental implant we place.
What Factors Improve the Lifespan of a Dental Implant?
There are some ways you can affect your dental implant’s long-term success rate for the better. When you work in conjunction with your dentist, you can achieve the best long-term success.
- Great Gum Health - It is essential to the long-term health of your implant that you keep it pristinely clean. Often, implants require special oral hygiene tools because of the way their shape differs from natural teeth. Our dental implant experts at Wellness Dental will give you specific instructions on how to best care for your new dental implant. Another important weapon in fighting gum disease on a dental implant is consistent professional teeth cleanings. Often, your dental hygienist will be able to clean away plaque, tartar and food debris that you cannot reach. The removal of this buildup is absolutely essential to the health of your implant!
- Great Overall Health - When your body is as healthy as possible, it will heal the best. For diabetic patients, that means keeping your blood sugar under tight control. For smokers, it means you quit smoking. For patients with chronic inflammatory disorders, it means eating well and lowering inflammation. If your dentist has any concerns that a health problem could affect your body’s ability to heal around your new dental implant, he or she will work with your medical doctor to develop a plan to get you into the best shape possible before your dental surgery. This improves your implant’s long-term success rate.
Are You Interested in Dental Implants?
Call your nearest Wellness Dental location today to schedule a consultation with our dental implant experts. They will go over your unique risk factors and help you achieve long-term success with dental implants!