How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

added on: August 2, 2019

When a doctor does them right, dental implants are a lifelong investment. Unlike veneers or dental bridges, dental implants (as in the implant itself and not the crown) do not normally need replacing. If you’ve had complications with your dental implant it could be because of:

  • Poor placement
  • Smoking
  • Poor maintenance

How to place a dental implant

A typical implant guide used in Omega Teeth procedures
A typical implant guide used in Omega Teeth procedures

No matter where you get your implant done, your doctor needs to be using a fully-guided system. Fully-guided means that before the surgery, the doctor uses scans of the patient’s mouth to create a plastic guide that ensures the implant (or implants) is placed correctly. During the surgery, the doctor puts the guide in the mouth and places the implants in the color-coded slots at a precise angle.

Many doctors don’t use a fully-guided system. They go into the surgery effectively blind and place the implant at a random angle. Doing this almost guarantees the failure of the implant.

At Stanley Dentistry, I use the fully-guided Omega Teeth dental implant process to guarantee successful implants. Omega Teeth is faster, safer, and yields better results than similar procedures (including Teeth-in-a-Day and All-on-Four). If the patient uses proper precautions when it comes to eating post-procedure, the chances of an Omega Teeth implant failing are slim.

Typical scan used to determine proper placement in Omega Teeth procedures
Typical scan used to determine proper placement in Omega Teeth procedures

Implants and tobacco don’t mix

After you get an implant, your doctor will give you a long list of do’s and don’ts. This is perhaps the hardest part when it comes getting an implant. The recovery period isn’t easy. It isn’t painful — most patients report feeling manageable pain for only a few weeks post-procedure — it’s restrictive. Implant patients have to stick to a liquid diet for three months after their surgery and tobacco is firmly off-limits. If patients don’t take these rules seriously, there’s a strong chance the implant will fail.

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you but a lot of our patients don’t understand how it can affect something like a dental implant. Smokers have a higher chance of developing peri-implantitis, which is the development of inflamed mucosal pockets around the implant site. If left to fester, peri-implantitis can easily lead to a failed implant. Even if one of our patients does come in with peri-implantitis, there may not be a way to easily treat it (depending on the severity). To keep that from happening, we encourage patients to stop smoking or using tobacco in the months leading up to the surgery. It could mean the difference between keeping and losing your implants.

Dental implants don’t clean themselves

Every six months, dental implant patients have to come in for a maintenance check-up. A doctor takes a look at the implant, removes the crown, and cleans the area around the abutment. It seems like a small thing but this short, regular appointment is very important for maintaining your dental implant’s health.

A dental implant patient cannot take off the crown of their implant so they can’t truly clean it. Brushing and flossing are great ways to keep your implant healthy but don’t discredit going to the dentist.

Ready to schedule?

We know that getting a dental implant can be a little scary but rest assured that, at Stanley Dentistry, our implant success rate is very high. Post-procedure, it’s more about the patient making sure to follow all the rules (soft foods, no smoking, etc.). After your surgery, I will sit down with you and make sure you understand exactly how to care for your dental implants. If you follow everything all the directions, you’ll be sporting your forever smile for years to come!

Posted In: Dental Implants