One of the ultimate goals of dentistry is to help people keep their teeth for as long as possible. Sometimes, natural teeth may become so damaged or decayed that there is no viable way to salvage them. In these cases, the best clinical approach may be to extract the teeth and replace them with dental implants. Here again, longevity is a foremost concern: Dentists, oral surgeons, and patients alike desire implants to be as durable and long-lasting as possible.
At Mercer Island Oral Surgery, we hear from patients who want to know just how strong dental implants really are, and how long they can expect their implants to last. We generally tell them that implants are very strong and likely to last a long time, contingent on proper oral hygiene and regular check-ups.
Consider what some of the most recent research says about the success rate, longevity, and overall strength of dental implants.
Are Dental Implants Always Successful?
Generally speaking, most patients who get implants tolerate the procedure just fine, and their implants fuse with the surrounding bone tissue without issue. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.
According to one study, dental implants are successful between 90 and 96 percent of the time. In this instance, “success” simply means the implants survive the initial procedure and begin bonding with the jawbone. A “successful” implant may still result in complications, or even fail in the long run.
Another study contends that 90 to 95 percent of dental implants prove successful for at least ten years, with several factors determining the longevity of an implant: the patient’s age, the length of the implant, the diameter of the implant, and the overall health of the jawbone.
How Long Do Dental Implants Normally Last?
The dental implant itself is a small titanium post placed into the jawbone where it heals into place and creates an anchor for artificial replacement teeth. With regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups, dental implants are designed to last up to a lifetime.
The artificial replacement tooth is another story. As with any dental crown, you can expect it to last somewhere between 10 and 15 years. Eventually, the replacement tooth will need to be replaced due to simple wear and tear. Again, good dental hygiene, including regular visits to the dentist, can help extend the life of your replacement tooth.
The replacement teeth located toward the rear part of the jaw tend to play a more active role in chewing. They usually take on more wear and tear, and may need to be replaced sooner than those toward the front of the mouth.
Do Dental Implants Offer a Firm Bite Strength?
Dental implants are a popular option for tooth replacement in part because they offer impressive bite strength. In fact, the bite strength of a dental implant is typically between 80 and 90 percent of a natural tooth.
Those who have lived with dentures or bridges know how precious a good, firm bite can be. The advantage of dental implants is that you can usually enjoy all of your favorite foods without discomfort or fear of them causing you pain or slipping out of place while you eat.
How Do Dental Implants Compare with Other Tooth Replacement Options?
Overall, dental implants are the strongest available option for tooth replacement. Consider:
- Dental implants are made from titanium, a durable material that is made to endure for decades.
- Dental implants are anchored to the bone, not to the tooth root, which means they can withstand more pressure than your natural teeth.
- A skilled oral surgeon will identify patients who may benefit from a bone graft. The addition of new bone material can help make implants even stronger, anchoring them more securely.
Compared with other tooth replacement options, dental implants are typically longer lasting and pose less risk of teeth becoming loose.
How Do Dental Implants Differ from Natural Teeth?
Dental implants are nearly as strong and resilient as your natural teeth.
One reason for this is that dental implants fuse with the jawbone and provide a sturdy and secure foundation for your future crown.
Learn More About the Strength of Dental Implants
If you have any questions about the benefits or potential complications of dental implants, we would love to talk with you. Schedule an appointment in our office to learn more.