You’ve recently had a tooth extracted due to decay, and you’re considering getting a dental implant to replace it. You may have heard that dental implants are the best option out there for replacing missing teeth, which is correct. However, can you really expect your implant to last for the rest of your life? Keep reading to find out.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
As a rule of thumb, dental implants can last about 30 years, or even longer with excellent care. However, the exact lifespan of your implants can vary based on several factors. The implant post itself is made of highly biocompatible titanium and it fuses to your jawbone in a near-magical process called osseointegration. Therefore, the implant should last as long as your jawbone is there, which should be for the rest of your life. However, the crown attached to the implant is not nearly as durable, so it will need to be replaced every decade or so.
How Can You Make Your Implants Last as Long as Possible?
Ensuring your implants last a lifetime involves great oral hygiene and attending regular dental checkups and cleanings. You might think that because you no longer have your “real” tooth, that you don’t need to brush and floss anymore, but that is not the case. In fact, oral hygiene becomes arguably more important.
If you neglect to brush and floss, food debris and plaque build up on your implant, remaining teeth, and gums. Failure to follow a dental hygiene regimen can result in cavities in your natural teeth. That decay can then cause gum disease that spread to your implant and compromises its success by weakening your jawbone. If your jawbone becomes weak enough, you might never be able to have dental implants again, at least not without a bone graft beforehand.
What Issues Can Threaten the Lifespan of Your Dental Implants?
Certain habits, like smoking, and disorders, such as diabetes and bone cancer, may prolong the healing process and increase your risk of developing an infection around the implant site. If your implant dentist determines that you are at risk for infection, they might prescribe a round of antibiotics to prevent any problems from ensuing.
In addition, you should avoid biting down on extremely hard objects, like hard candies and ice, with your dental implant. Doing so could crack your implant restoration just like it would crack a natural tooth.
Dental implants are a truly remarkable treatment for missing teeth. If you’re looking to fill the gap in your smile, ask your dentist if implants are right for you.
About the Author
Dr. Clifton Baldwin has more than 30 years of experience practicing general and cosmetic dentistry in the Spring, TX area. He is passionate about continuing education and has taken courses in a variety of dental subjects, including dental implants. He can perform the entire process, from consultation to restoration, in his office without having to refer you to an outside specialist. To learn more, visit Dr. Baldwin’s website.