What is the lifespan of a dental implant?

Older Woman Holding Potted FlowersBefore dental implants became a viable, reliable and consistent option for tooth replacement, patients had to settle for appliances that frequently needed to be replaced as the shape of the jaw changed over time. One significant advantage for dental implants in comparison to bridges and dentures is the durability of the dental implant. The lifespan of dental implants is intended to be long. Just like real teeth, they do not expire or wear out. They can stand the test of time and they can endure the normal challenges of your daily routine.

In the months following the procedure in which the oral surgeon places the dental implant, the device fuses with the bone and become a permanent structure in the mouth. In this way, they are replacing the absent tooth’s root. The structural nature of a dental implant increases its longevity in many ways.

Because they are physically connected to the jaw, dental implants prevent the jawbone erosion that requires new bridges or denture re-linings every few years. The implant itself is resistant to decay.

Although dental implants can be long-lasting, their ultimate success relies on the suitability of the patient for the procedure as well as the patient’s postoperative efforts to care for the implant, as well as any remaining biological teeth.

A patient must have adequate bone to support the dental implant’s initial osseointegration, so patients who have experienced some bone loss in addition to their tooth loss should be carefully evaluated by the oral surgeon to determine whether their cases are appropriate for dental implants. If there is not enough bone, the patient may still be eligible for dental implants if a preliminary bone graft is completed first.

Secondly, the same conditions that contributed to the original tooth loss (like gum disease and advanced decay) can easily lead to implant failure, so it’s extra important for dental implant patients to get serious about their home oral hygiene routines.

How Do I Take Care of Dental Implants?

Artificial teeth must be cleaned thoroughly each day in order to prevent plaque bacteria from infecting the microscopic spaces between the implant post and the gums or bone. The same periodontal disease that can affect a natural tooth can also impact the stability of a dental implant. The Inflammation and bone loss that are caused by gum disease can weaken the support system around the implant post.

Pockets, gaps, and defects around the implant post can be difficult to correct, and will often result in the loss of the implant. Fortunately, most incidences of gum disease can be prevented or controlled with routine professional dental care and attentive oral hygiene at home.

Your implants are also vulnerable to stress. Extreme biting forces, nighttime clenching, or an accidental injury to the mouth can destroy the bond between the implant and the bone. Without this strong connection, your replacement tooth could be knocked out or loosened.

The factors that can influence the long-term success of your dental implants can extend beyond the boundaries of the mouth. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and controlling chronic health conditions will help to protect your real teeth and also your artificial teeth. Drug use, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease can increase the likelihood of gum disease and the potential for tooth loss.

Dental implants can last for decades if you take good care of them. If you choose dental implants for tooth replacement, be sure to work with your oral surgeon to develop a care plan to maximize their longevity.

Contact one of our four convenient locations to schedule your informative consultation today.