If you are missing teeth then dental implants may be a permanent solution to help restore your smile. But you may be wondering if they are in fact permanent. Here, our Ontario dentists discuss dental implants and how long you can expect them to actually last.
What are dental implants?
If you are missing one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend a dental implant to secure a tooth replacement, such as a crown or bridge. For those that are missing teeth, a dental implant means more than just restoring the natural function of their teeth, it also means restoring the appearance and self-confidence that comes along with their smile.
The Dental Implant Process
Dental implants include two components. The implant itself is a tiny titanium rod that is placed in your jawbone. An abutment is screwed into the implant and attaches to the tooth replacement, holding it in place.
The procedure is done over two visits. At the first appointment, your dentist will implant the titanium rod into your jawbone. This is beneath the gum tissue which will then be reattached in place.
During the healing process, your gums will attach to the implant and your jawbone will bond to it.
After the gum tissue has completely healed, you will come in for your second appointment. Your dentist will fit your implant with a tooth replacement to create the appearance of a natural-looking tooth.
Will My Dental Implants be 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.
How to Properly Care For Your Dental Implants
Taking care of your dental implants is much the same as caring for your natural teeth. Twice daily brushing and flossing is essential for the long-term success of your implant because it helps keep the surrounding teeth and gum tissue healthy and disease-free.
Maintain Routine 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.
Help Protect Your Teeth From Unnecessary Damage
You should refrain from biting or chewing hard objects such as the end of a pen. You should never use your teeth as a tool to open items. This can cause damage in the form of cracked or chipped teeth.
Take care of Your Overall Health
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.