Dental implants are one of the multiple options available for missing teeth, such as bridges or dentures. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks, but what makes dental implants special among the others is their lifespan.
How long does an implant last? There is not a clear answer since there are a lot of things to consider which may affect its lifespan. However, on average they can last a very long time given correct care.
Do Dental Implants Last Forever?
First, it is important to understand how a dental implant is formed and how long each of its three parts can last: The post, the abutment, and the crown.
The post is a biocompatible metal screw that is placed in the jawbone and which osseointegrates and blends with the jaw to work as a tooth root. This part is designed to be permanent and only bone loss, infections or a wrong placement can cause its failure. It might happen due to an accident, but it is very unlikely to do so.
The abutment is usually made with the same material as the metal post and it is also likely to last a lifetime, it holds the crown. However, the crown is the most exposed piece of the implant and also the most fragile. It can be made from different materials such as ceramic, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or a new material called zirconium, and it is the part that replaces the tooth. On average they have to be changed between 5 and 15 years, this will vary depending on the material, the implant position, and the care you take of it.
What Can Affect My Implant’s Lifespan?
There are different reasons that may affect your implant such as the placement inside your mouth, your daily diet and habits, and if you had pre-existing conditions.
Your implant replaces a very important part of your mouth but it won’t be under the same stress a crown is under if it takes the place of frontal teeth or a molar. A molar is used constantly for chewing and it may last less.
Daily habits also have a great impact on the implant’s lifespan. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing them will prevent mouth infections which can lead to gum disease and reduce the implant lifespan. Also, contact sports may result in broken or cracked implants. In addition, smoking can be really troubling for implants since smokers have double chances of getting gum disease. Eating too hard or sweet food might really damage your crown. That is the reason why after an implant you should recap your daily routine and your habits.
Another factor that can lead to implant failure is the existence of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or cancer. This is because the recovery from the surgery when the implant is placed might take longer and if not given enough attention it could end in infections and the implant might fail. In these cases, the dentist must be aware of these conditions so that a special recovery plan can be prepared based on this medical condition.
How Can I Take Care Of My Dental Implants?
The first step for your implants to last as long as possible is choosing an experienced professional as well as allowing for a good recovery period after the surgical procedure. During this process it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions, have good oral hygiene, stop smoking, and take care of your mouth.
After the implant has been placed, you should regularly visit your dentist (at least once every six months), brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly, as well as avoid eating and chewing things that could damage your crowns. Also, if you participate in contact sports you should wear a mouthguard as a precaution.
If you are considering getting dental implants, you should get hire an experienced professional, take proper care of your teeth and proper oral hygiene so your implants can last as long as possible. Consider scheduling a consultation with one of our professionals to learn more about dental implants.