With the average dental implant costing upwards of $4,500, it makes sense that you’d want to protect your investment. But between implant failure and the rare instance of implant fracture, it can be difficult to do so. That’s why it helps to know exactly what risks are involved in keeping your dental implants safe from damage.
Recently, a team of Swedish researchers attempted to do just that, by studying implant fractures and what is most likely to cause them. Their results may surprise you, but they will also almost certainly help you!
Better Quality = Better Durability
It should come as no surprise that better-quality dental implants will last longer, but researchers found that higher grades of titanium increased the durability of dental implants by a whopping 72.9 percent! This means that while you may think you’re getting a good deal on a less expensive implant, you could very likely pay at least twice that price if you end up fracturing your implant and having to replace it.
The placement of the implant in your mouth may affect its chance of success. Researchers found that molars (aka the chewing teeth) had a higher rate of fracture than the rest of the teeth, because they undergo the most stress in daily use. In fact, back teeth are at a nearly 250 percent higher risk of fracture than front teeth.
Teeth Grinding Doesn’t Help Matters
Bruxism, or grinding your teeth, is a surefire way to cause wear and tear to any teeth, natural or prosthetic. Unfortunately, if you grind your teeth, you are at a much higher risk of implant fracture. How much higher? Are you sitting down? About 1,819.5 percent higher. Yes, you read that correctly.
So if you do grind your teeth, it’s very important you speak to your dentist as soon as possible about stopping. Whether you have TMJ disorder or your problem can be corrected by a bite guard, it’s in your teeth’s best interest (natural or prosthetic) to get the grinding under control before any further damage occurs.
The wider the implant, the higher the risk of breakage. For every 1 millimeter in width, you increase the risk of breaking your implant by 22.3 percent!
The diameter of your dental implant affects the fracture risk, too. In fact, for every millimeter increase in diameter, your implant fracture risk skyrockets 96.9 percent.
So, what can be done to help extend the life of your dental implants and prevent fracture? First of all, keep in mind the factors you can control, like grinding your teeth. If this is something you do, it’s important to do everything you can to break the habit before you break your teeth. As for the rest of the risk factors, even just being aware of the delicate nature of your implant can help reduce the risk of accidentally breaking it. Try to avoid using implants to chew very crunchy foods. If you can, chew harder foods with your natural teeth, or avoid those foods altogether if possible.
Finally, remember that the better the quality of implant, the stronger and more durable that implant will be. You won’t save any money if you have to keep replacing your implants!
For any questions or concerns about the care of your dental implants, give Dr. George’s office a call at 724-934-3422.