How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Missing a tooth or two? Dental implants may be what you need. They are a great way to improve function, smile and increase your confidence. Did you know that around 500,000 new dental implants are placed each year? There’s a reason for their popularity. Learn more about their benefits, procedures and more below.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a small screw (artificial root) made of ceramic, titanium, silver or gold that is implanted in the jawbone taking the place of the missing tooth. A dental crown is then implanted to create a new and functional tooth.
Why should I get Dental Implants?
Replacing a missing tooth is important, not just for your own self confidence but for your bone health as well. If a missing tooth is not replaced, the bone that supported that tooth can begin to deteriorate. Furthermore, missing even just one tooth can make it so your other teeth move out of their correct position. This has the potential to change the structure and function of your bite which can ultimately affect your overall health.
Who does the Dental Implant procedure?
A specialist that places implants into the mouth is called a periodontist. A dental implants periodontist is most likely to be the one to perform a dental implant procedure on you. Getting implants from a periodontist is one of the best ways to ensure that your procedure goes as smoothly as possible.
Who can get this procedure done?
If you have healthy gums, enough bone in the jaw to hold implants and are in generally good overall health, then dental implants could be right for you. If your jawbone is an issue because it has shrunk in some way or did not develop normally, then a bone graft may be the solution for this. A bone graft adds new bone to your jawbone. Your dental implants periodontist will be the one to tell you if this can be done.
Benefits of Dental Implants
1. Natural Smile and Look
Dental implants make it look as if you were never missing teeth. They can be taken care of the same way you care for your natural teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day will feel natural! Dental implants are also custom-made exactly for your teeth so nobody will have to know that you even have implants.
2. Improved Speech
With dental implants, you won’t ever have to worry about them falling out (compared to dentures). This allows you to speak freely and happily!
3. Won’t Get Cavities
Although you still need to take care of your implants to prevent any gum infections, the dental implants themselves cannot decay. You won’t have to worry about cavities with your implants!
4. Preservation of bone
Through preventing a process called bone resorption, bone mass is preserved with implants. Bone resorption begins around six months after a tooth is lost. As time goes on, bone resorption can cause the shape of the face to change and/or cause the loss of more teeth. Through dental implants and proper oral hygiene, the bone should remain healthy and durable.
Dental implants can last up to many years (typically 25+ years) which means that you shouldn’t need to repeatedly get work done or go through dental surgery. When taken care of optimally, they could even last your entire lifetime. So be sure to treat them well!
How to Ensure Optimal Longevity and Care For Implants
Unlike regular teeth, dental implants do not get cavities or decay. However, the gum around them can be sensitive to inflammation and infection.
Important hygiene tips to remember to ensure the health of your implants include:
Regular brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush (twice a day)
Nylon brushes are recommended since they are gentle on your implants. You can also opt for a Proxabrush to clean the hard-to-reach surfaces around your implants. Hard bristles are not recommended since they can scratch your dental implant’s surface.
Using a low-abrasive toothpaste
Avoiding any sort of abrasive products is crucial. Instead, stick to sensitive cleaning products when you can.
Brushing under and around the implant
Using an oral rinse without alcohol daily (twice a day)
Flossing daily (twice a day)
With implants, flossing becomes more important. Plaque can easily accumulate around your implants potentially leading to other oral hygiene issues.
Avoiding Hard/Sticky Foods
Eating hard or sticky foods have the potential to damage your implants. Some things to avoid are ice, hard candies, carrots, apples, caramel and steak.
Avoiding Smoking and Alcohol
Dental implants take around six months to heal so smoking during this time can be detrimental. Drinking alcohol is also shown to slow down the healing process. Avoiding these two will ensure that your dental implants heal to their best potential. Always speak to your periodontist to get the most accurate advice following your dental implants procedure.
In conclusion, for anyone that has missing teeth or even one singular tooth, dental implants could be a great option for you.
Not only do dental implants prevent bone resorption, restore confidence and allow you to eat and speak freely but they look great and natural. Furthermore, brushing and flossing your teeth remains the same as if you had your natural teeth.
With practicing the right oral hygiene methods and taking proper care of your dental implants, they are expected to last at least 25+ years. They are a significant upfront investment. Unless the crown wears and tears due to improper care, they typically do not require further surgery or dental work. The best thing that one can do when having dental implants is to properly care for them from day one.