Dental implants can last a lifetime if patients see their dentist regularly and practice proper home care, according to Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles.
The success rates for implants have been tracked in some studies up to 20 years and almost 90% of the implants of a certain group were fine at 20 years. These results mean that some of those implants did have problems, but the vast majority of them are fine.
In theory implants should last a lifetime. There is no inherent reason why they should deteriorate, breakdown, be rejected, or become infected. In reality implants can have problems after time just like natural teeth do. They are also subject just like natural teeth to changes in a patient’s health, so if someone gets an implant at age 40 when they are healthy, but then they have chemotherapy when they are 75, or the patient has other health problems as they age, then it is certainly possible that the implant could have a problem, too.
We encourage patients to stay on a professional maintenance program. If the patient has had periodontal disease in addition to implants, then we like to keep them in our office for cleanings with our hygienist at least once or twice a year. They generally go back to their dentist for the other cleanings.
If they have not had any periodontal disease and perhaps lost a tooth because of trauma, or because a tooth cracked, and they are really not at risk for periodontal disease, then we will check on the patient every year but have them go back to their dentist to continue professional maintenance. Regardless of who does the cleaning, patients should continue to get them done professionally because implants like teeth can have problems if they are not cleaned properly, and the best way to do that is to see a hygienist at least twice a year and also do proper daily oral care at home.
When I place implants I expect them to last a lifetime and we educate our patients to help them achieve that goal.
Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles
South Florida Center for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
Boca Raton, FL
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