If you’ve lost a tooth or need to replace a severely damaged tooth, dental implants are your best option. Although they cost more up front than traditional dentures and other tooth replacement options, the benefits of dental implants far outweighs their higher cost for many if not all patients.
Since you will be investing money into them, it’s natural to wonder long the typical dental implant can last. With implants, you’ll find that they have a considerably longer lifespan than other tooth replacement options.
Average Lifespan of Dental Implants
The typical denture or dental bridge lasts for just a few years. People consider themselves lucky to get a full decade of wear out of them. On the other hand, when a dental implant is properly placed and taken good care of, it can last for at least 25 years to a lifetime.
Why Dental Implants Last for So Long
The design plays a big role in helping dental implants last for decades. When a patient is given dentures, the dentures rest on the top of the gums. They need to be taken out of the mouth frequently, at bed, and when a person brushes his or her teeth. There’s a high risk for misplacing dentures or even swallowing dentures, which affects their longevity and has its risks.
Dentures can also wear out quickly, even if well cared for. You need to clean them specially, for example. In contrast, you can clean your implants just like you would a normal tooth. Since the implant is made of porcelain, there is no chance of it developing a cavity or decay.
As their name suggests, implants are actually plants into your gums and jawbone. The first step to getting implants is for the dentist to place the implant into your gums and jaw. The implant eventually fuses with your jawbone and becomes a part of your mouth. Once the post is in place, your dentist places a crown over it, which is securely held in place by the post. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
Take Good Care of Your Dental Implants
How well you care for your implants and the rest of your teeth influences how long they last. A good oral hygiene routine is a must if you want to take good care of your remaining natural teeth, your gums, and your implants.
Seeing a dentist twice a year for a teeth cleaning will help prolong the life of your implants, help prevent gum disease, and will help you spot any cavities or concerns before they become major issues.
What Can Cause Damage
Everyone wants to keep their implants in good shape and help their dental implants last for as long as possible. Unfortunately though, damage can occur or an implant can fail in a small number of cases, requiring either replacement or repair.
Some factors beyond your control can increase your risk for implant damage and failure. For example, some medical conditions, such as diabetes, raise the risk for implant failure. Lifestyle habits can also lead to considerable damage, such as smoking which raises your risk for periodontal disease. More advanced cases of gum disease can increase your risk for implant damage or failure, since the gum and bone tissue is affected and pulls away.
Should You Replace Your Implants?
Although implants can last for the rest of your life, you might be in a situation where the best option for you is to replace them. Your dentist can let you know for sure if removing or replacing your dental implant is the best course of action.
There are usually a few signs that indicate a dental implant replacement may be needed for you. If your implant becomes loose or if there’s a lot of swelling in the gum tissue by the implant, it is recommended to visit your dentist for a comprehensive evaluation.
Repairing an implant often involves treating any infection around it and building up the gum or jaw tissue to provide proper support. The crown on top of the implant might need to be repaired or replaced, as well.
If the entire implant needs replacement, the dentist will remove it from the mouth. He’ll then clean the affected area and remove any damaged tissue from the gums or jawbone. If needed, he’ll perform a bone graft so that the new implant has something to firmly attach to. After the area has been prepared, the new implant post and crown can be placed.
Whether you are considering implants or have them and want to have an implant evaluation, contact Dr. John Paul Gallardo and Dr. William P. Lamas, periodontists and implant dentists in the Miami area. They specialize in performing dental implants as well as repairing damaged implants and treating other issues in the mouth, including gum disease. To schedule a consultation, call 305-547-8687 today.