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Dental Implant Surgery

Are Dental Implants Permanent?

Missing teeth are more than a cosmetic inconvenience – they affect a person’s day-to-day life and leave people looking for a permanent solution. Are dental implants permanent? While every patient is unique, it is clear that dental implants offer the most permanent solution for missing teeth. Many of the dental implants first placed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons continue to function at peak performance. When properly cared for, dental implants are a long-term solution for missing teeth.

Success Rates of Dental Implants

Many of the implants first placed are still functioning as intended and have an overall success rate of up to 95 percent. Given the alternatives – removable dentures or potentially damaging fixed bridges – dental implants provide patients with a more permanent solution. New technology, materials and treatments make dental implants an excellent choice for almost anyone who needs to replace missing teeth.

Potential Causes of Dental Implant Failure

Dental implants have a remarkable success rate. While uncommon, some dental implants do unfortunately fail. What causes a dental implant to fail? 

  • Short-term dental implant failure is typically due to a problem with the bone healing around the titanium implant. Osseointegration is the proper fusing of the implant to the patient’s bone; sometimes this fails to happen and the implant needs to be removed. This failure can be caused by a number of factors including low bone density, uncontrolled diabetes and smoking. Symptoms can include implant mobility, pain and bleeding.
  • Long-term dental implant failure occurs after the implant has integrated with the bone and the jaw has healed, and the most common cause is called peri-implantitis. It’s a chronic infection of the gum (and eventually the bone) with symptoms that include discomfort, infection and bleeding. Long-term failures also can be caused by prosthetic complications (a broken screw or loose abutment).

Treatments for short-term failure often involve repairing the surgical site with a bone graft, waiting for the bone to heal and then replacing the dental implant. Treatments for peri-implantitis will vary depending on the cause and severity. An OMS may recommend more frequent cleanings, changes in your home hygiene routine, antibiotics, surgery or a combination of treatments. Prosthetic complications vary based on the type of complication and restoration and, in certain cases, may be repaired.

Consult an OMS about Dental Implants

Among adults ages 35 to 44, 69 percent have lost at least one permanent tooth, and 26 percent of adults ages 74 and older live without any permanent teeth. Both fixed bridges and traditional dentures may need to be replaced every seven to 15 years. Don’t settle for temporary solutions when more permanent ones are available. Contact an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to learn more about dental implants.

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Last updated July 2023

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or dental advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Photos and videos are for illustration purposes only and are not indicative to what a patient may experience.