Experts estimate that there are millions of adults in the United States who are missing at least one tooth. Many of those are missing most or all of their teeth. This may be due to aging, genetics, poor oral hygiene habits, and more. However, regardless of the cause, some of the most common effects include:
- Difficulty eating, leading to nutritional issues
- Difficulty speaking
- Misaligned bite
- TMJ disorders
- Increased risk of additional tooth loss and other dental issues
- Decreased confidence/self-esteem
The most popular treatment for missing teeth among patients at 5th and Olive Dental in Downtown Seattle is dental implants. In this article, we’ll explain more about dental implants and their life expectancy, as well as offer tips on making them last longer.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a device designed to replace missing teeth. A single implant can replace a single tooth, or 2 or more can be used to support up to an entire arch. Traditional dental implants consist of 3 pieces:
- Implant screw: tiny post, typically made of titanium, that is surgically inserted into the jawbone- acts as an artificial tooth root
- Abutment: connects the implant screw to the prosthetic tooth/teeth
- Prosthesis: a single dental crown, usually porcelain, is used to replace a single tooth, while a bridge or overdenture is used to replace multiple missing teeth
On average, a single dental implant costs around $5,000, and a full-mouth restoration costs around $60,000+. The good news is that many dental insurance providers are recognizing the benefits of this solution over other options, so they are starting to cover a portion of this treatment. Our office staff will work with your provider to determine your coverage. If you need help paying your out-of-pocket expenses, we will be happy to go over our financing options with you.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are designed to be a lifelong solution for missing teeth. The artificial tooth/teeth may need to be replaced after about 15 to 20 years, depending on wear and tear- but once osseointegration has occurred, the implant screws should last a lifetime.
Factors that impact dental implant life expectancy
Dental implants have a 90% to 95% long-term success rate in most healthy patients. However, there are some things that can lead to implant failure. A few of these factors are:
- Improper care and maintenance: proper oral hygiene is critical for the success of dental implants. Plaque buildup can cause gum disease, which can ultimately cause issues with your gums and jawbone. The beginning stage is referred to as peri-implant disease and, with prompt treatment, is reversible. However, if left untreated, this can advance into peri-implantitis, which can cause the implant to fail.
- Insufficient bone density: dental implants are inserted into your jawbone and therefore require adequate bone density. Prior to implant placement, x-rays will be taken to determine the health and density of your jawbone. If inadequate, bone grafting procedures may be recommended.
- Age: dental implants are more likely to fail in older adults due to additional medical issues that are often present or slower healing.
- Experience of surgeon: when choosing a surgeon to place your implants, experience and expertise is important. You want to work with a certified implantologist.
Tips to last Implants longer
Ultimately, the life expectancy of your dental implants depends on how the implant is placed and how you care for it. However, there are some things that are within your control:
- Choose a qualified implantologist
- Practice proper oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice daily and flossing at least once as well as visiting the dentist every 6 months
- Avoid clenching or grinding teeth
- Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports
- Avoid biting down or chewing on non-food items
- Do not use your teeth as tools
- Quit smoking and refrain from excessive alcohol use
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges and Dentures
Dental implants are the gold standard in tooth replacement because they look, feel, and function more like natural teeth. However, there are other tooth replacement solutions: dental bridges and conventional dentures. Dental implants offer many advantages over other solutions:
$5,000 for a single tooth, $60,000+ for full-mouth restoration
Depending on the type of bridge, ranges from $1,500 to $5,000+
Complete dentures range from around $300 to $4,000 per plate, depending on the quality of the denture
Minimum of a few months from start to finish
Typically takes at least 2 appointments, one to prepare teeth and order the bridge, and a second one to place the bridge
Typically requires at least 2 appointments, one to prepare the mouth and order the denture and a second one to place the dentures
Feels like natural teeth
Can be comfortable, if fitted and placed properly
Not secure, slips/slides around in the mouth, causes pressure and friction sores
Implants last a lifetime; prosthesis may need replacing in about 15 to 20 years
Lasts an average of 5 to 7 years, may last longer with proper care and maintenance
Lasts an average of about 10 years, but typically needs to be relined every few years due to jawbone deterioration
- Looks, feels, and functions more like natural teeth
- Restores ability to eat and speak naturally
- Restores ability to eat and speak
- May look, feel, and function naturally
- Restores ability to eat and speak
- May look natural, depending on the quality of the denture
- Does not always function or feel natural because the denture slides around in the mouth
Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation at 5th and Olive Dental
If you are missing one or more teeth and you are in or near Downtown Seattle, schedule your consultation with the team at 5th and Olive Dental. We specialize in dental implant placement. Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, with proper care and maintenance.
Our office is located on Olive Way in Downtown Seattle. Our hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Friday by appointment only.
Dental Implant FAQs
If you have any questions or concerns about your dental implant treatment, the team at 5th and Olive Dental will be happy to discuss those with you. Some of the most common questions we hear about dental implants include:
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. Traditional implants consist of three parts:
- Implant screw: inserted into jawbone
- Abutment: secures the implant screw to the prosthetic tooth/teeth
- Prosthetic tooth/teeth: single crown, dental bridge, or overdenture- replaces the visible portion of the tooth
Mini dental implants are smaller and are designed for patients with some jawbone loss or who have a smaller-than-average mouth. This type of implant has two parts: implant screw and prosthetic tooth/teeth.
How do I take care of dental implants?
Dental implants can be taken care of just like natural teeth. Simply brush twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Floss at least once to remove food debris from between teeth. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash when you brush and after meals to remove any loose food debris and bacteria.
What is the failure rate for dental implants?
The failure rate for dental implants is about 5% to 10% for healthy patients and is typically due to improper placement or improper care/maintenance habits. For patients with underlying medical conditions, the failure rate is slightly higher.
How can I increase the life expectancy of my dental implants?
There are a few things you can do to improve the success of your dental implants, including:
- Choose a qualified provider to place your implants
- Practice proper oral hygiene
- Don’t use teeth as tools and don’t bite/chew on non-food items
- Visit the dentist every 6 months
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use
- Make healthy food choices
- Pay attention to your oral and overall health