The primary goal of dental implants is to permanently replace missing teeth. Today, our West Kelowna dentists explain how long dental implants actually last and the factors that affect their longevity.
What are dental implants?
Your dentist might recommend getting a dental implant if you are missing one or more of your teeth. They are able to secure and hold a tooth replacement such as a crown or bridge in place. If you have missing teeth, getting a dental implant procedure completed could help improve your self-esteem and confidence, as well as your oral and overall health.
The Dental Implant Process
There are two components to a dental implant. A tiny titanium rod (that is placed in your jawbone) and the implant itself. An abutment is screwed into the implant and attaches to the tooth replacement, keeping it in place.
You will have to attend two dental appointments for the procedure to be completed. During your first visit, your dentist will implant the titanium rod into your jawbone. This is beneath the gum tissue which will then be reattached in place.
While you are healing, your gums will attach to the implant and your jawbone will bond to it.
Once the gum tissue has fully healed, you will return for your second appointment. This is when your dentist will attach your tooth replacement, to give the appearance of a natural-looking tooth.
Are implants permanent?
The tooth crown or bridge portion of the tooth replacement may need to be replaced after 10 - 15 years (more or less depending on your unique case), even with diligent dental care. Discuss with your dentist how long a crown or bridge may be expected to last in your specific case.
However, the actual dental implant can have a lifespan of 25 years or more with proper care. In some cases, you may never need to replace your implant if it doesn't become damaged, loose, or infected.
As the implant is metal, it is very durable, but there are some factors that can influence how long you can expect an implant to last.
You are able to care for your dental implant the same way you take care of your natural teeth. It's imperative to brush and floss your teeth two times a day because the long-term success of your implant depends on keeping the surrounding gum tissue and teeth disease-free and healthy.
Regular Dental Appointments
It is important to continue visiting your dentist twice a year. Not only will these visits include thorough cleanings that will keep your teeth and gums healthy, but they also provide your dentist with an opportunity to monitor the state of your dental implant as well as the health of the surrounding teeth. Any issues with the gums or deterioration can be addressed early or possibly prevented in the first place.
Protecting Your Teeth from Damage
We don't recommend chewing or biting hard objects like the ends of a pen. You also shouldn't use your teeth as tools to tear open packages or other items, because it could result in damage such as chipped or cracked teeth.
Certain lifestyle choices can impact the tissue surrounding your implant, lessening its stability. Your overall health may also play a part in how successful your implants are over the long run. Certain diseases and medical conditions can lead to a heightened risk of dental implant failure.