Dental Implant Success Factors That Contribute To (Or Take Away From) Longevity

May 26, 2023
factors affecting dental implant success
If you’re considering dental implants, you may want to know what makes them so durable and long-lasting. We'll also discuss factors that can affect their longevity.

If you’ve ever looked into getting a tooth restoration, you’ll probably know about dental implants and what makes them so successful versus other tooth replacement methods.

In this post, we’ll examine why implant-based restorations are long-lasting but also discuss the key dental implant success factors that make or break longevity.

So, let’s get started!

Factor #1 - Implant durability

One of the most significant benefits of dental implants is their exceptional durability. While other missing tooth restorations may require replacement or repairs over time, dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. This is due to the materials used in their construction, primarily titanium. Titanium has excellent strength equal to steel but is less dense, so it’s around 45% lighter.  

Perhaps more importantly, titanium is also known for its biocompatibility, which means that the body won’t reject it, and, of course, its ability to fuse with the jawbone is something that very few other metals have. Therefore, the right material is a significant factor for dental implant success.

A word of caution - There are over 200 brands of dental implants on the market. While some at the cheaper end of the scale still produce quality products, some unscrupulous manufacturers are known to incorporate lesser-grade materials into their implants. This can affect both the biocompatibility and their ability to fuse with the bone.

As a top tip, ask your dentist what type of implants they use and research the brand before you commit. Doing so ensures that when you’re fitted with tooth implants, they stand the best chance of success.

Factor #2 – Good Osseointegration

One key thing that sets dental implants apart from other tooth restorations is that once the titanium post has stabilized in the bone, it becomes a permanent and integral part of the jaw.

The bone fusion (osseointegration) process is so important for this type of restoration that dental implant success hinges on it.

Once bone fusion is successful, it creates a super-solid foundation strong enough to support a single dental crown, a dental bridge, or an entire arch of fully-functioning teeth alongside a series of implants.

The good news is that osseointegration usually occurs without a hitch; however, certain medications, medical conditions or lifestyle choices can slow the process down or stop it altogether. 

Factors like:

  • Smoking
  • Uncontrollable diabetes, and
  • Osteoporosis,

can all be problematic for bone fusion.

There is also increasing evidence to suggest that certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may slow the bone fusion process.

For these reasons, your implant dentist must know your medical history, which is crucial to dental implant success.

If you smoke, for example, you will need to quit for several months before surgery and, at least, until the implant has fully stabilized in the jaw. Failure to do so can result in bacterial infection.

Why? Because every time you inhale tobacco smoke, you’re breathing in a whole assortment of harmful bacteria, microbial toxins, mold and even fungi, all of which can be hugely detrimental to a newly placed dental implant.    

Factor #3 – Good oral hygiene and maintenance

Maintaining good oral hygiene is also crucial for the long-term success of dental implants. While implants are not susceptible to decay like natural teeth, the surrounding gum tissues and bone are. Therefore, they still require proper care.

Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups are essential to preventing complications that may otherwise jeopardize the longevity of the implant.

Failure to conduct good oral hygiene and maintenance at any time can leave an implant-based restoration susceptible to problems. Therefore, if you are considering dental implants, it’s essential to know that you must adopt a stringent cleaning and maintenance routine right from the start and continue this throughout the implant’s life.

Factor #4 – Proper bite force and functionality

A real selling point of dental implants is that they’re designed to withstand the regular forces of biting and chewing, allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods without limitations or restrictions.

Unlike removable dentures, which can restrict dietary choices, implants provide the strength and stability necessary to bite into and chew even tough or sticky foods. This enhanced functionality significantly improves your overall quality of life and can make dental implants a highly desirable tooth replacement option.

That said, despite the strength of dental implants, they can be prone to failure if you decide to:

  • Use your teeth for anything other than eating. Opening bottle tops or breaking ice with your teeth is probably beyond the force any implant can take.
  • Not disclose that you’re a bruxer – Inadvertent teeth grinding (bruxism) exerts considerably more force on teeth than normal biting and chewing. Unfortunately, just like natural teeth, implants are not built to survive this much impact, and regular grinding activity could severely damage them.
  • Play impact sports without a mouthguard – Playing sports like football, ice hockey or basketball without a protective mouthguard is not good for natural teeth or their implant-based counterparts, so wearing a mouthguard should be mandatory if you want to enjoy your sport without worrying about your smile.

Factor #5 -   Not considering the long-term cost considerations

While the initial outlay for dental implants may appear high, their long-term cost-effectiveness becomes evident over time. Unlike bridges or dentures, which may require periodic adjustments or replacements, dental implants offer a permanent solution, reducing the need for ongoing maintenance and potential future expenses.

Investing in dental implants can save you money in the long run while providing you with a durable and reliable tooth replacement that mimics the look and feel of natural teeth.

Dental implant success – the bottom line

Dental implants are a remarkable innovation with many benefits, including exceptional longevity and durability. While records suggest that implant-based restorations have a success rate of 95% and 98%, they require a little forethought combined with proper and regular care and maintenance.

Follow these success factors, and your dental implants could last a lifetime. That’s a lifetime of confidence-boosting smiles and the ability to enjoy all your favorite foods.

If you feel dental implants may be right for you, consult with the team at Chesterfield Dentistry. Dr Akinwande takes the time to talk with you to ensure you’re a good candidate while answering all your questions or concerns.  

Are you ready to get started?

Book an appointment today and take the first step towards a radiant smile that will stand the test of time.


Photo credit: image by nensuria on Freepik