Do Dental Implants Need to be Replaced?

Dental implants are considered a "permanent fixture." But does that mean dental implants last forever and never need to be replaced? That's a complex question that requires more than a simple yes or no answer.

So, here's how long implants can last and if (and when) they should be replaced.

Are Dental Implants Permanent?

A dental implant consists of a metal screw, an abutment, and a crown. The screw is surgically inserted into the jaw bone, and once it fuses with the surrounding tissues, it becomes a permanent part of the mouth.

So, with proper care, the metal post can last a lifetime. The crown, on the other hand, has a limited lifespan and must be replaced every 10 to 15 years.

That's not to say that implants are indestructible. While they have a success rate of 95% or higher, certain factors can affect their lifespan.

How to Maintain Your Dental Implants

It's not that hard to ensure that your implants will last for as long as possible. All you have to do is follow some simple oral hygiene rules, such as:

  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly to remove plaque and prevent gum disease.
  • Visit the dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings.
  • Avoid biting or chewing hard foods on the implant side of your mouth.
  • Do not use tobacco products, as they can increase the risk of gum disease and implant failure.

What Causes a Dental Implant to Fail?

As we said, a few factors can increase the risk of implant failure. Here are some examples:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: By neglecting your oral hygiene, you allow plaque and tartar to build up and increase the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of implant failure. 
  • Smoking: Tobacco use will not only hinder the healing process but can also affect the integrity of your implant. That's because smoking can increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Improper Placement: If the implant is not placed correctly, it may not fuse properly with the bone and could fail.
  • Gum Diseases: As we said, gum disease can affect the integrity of the implant and cause it to loosen and even fall 

Signs a Dental Implant Has Failed

Here are some of the most common signs of implant failure:

  • The implant becomes loose: If the implant feels loose or unstable, it may be failing.
  • Pain: Pain or discomfort around the implant site could signify failure.
  • Infection: If the implant becomes infected, it may need to be removed.
  • Gum recession: If the gum tissue around the implant starts to recede, it could be a sign of failure.

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to contact your dentist right away.

Want to Learn More About Implants? We're Here to Help!

If you are interested in dental implants but would like to learn first if they are a good option for you, our Flagstaff family dentists are here to answer all your questions. You can contact us online or call us at (928) 774-3851

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