Dental implants are an effective treatment method for replacing missing teeth—but how long do they last? Here, our Ottawa dentists discuss the longevity of dental implants.
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. If you are missing teeth, dental implants can help preserve your oral and overall health and may make you feel more confident about your 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. As the implant heals, it will fuse to your jawbone, creating a stable "root" to which the tooth replacement can be attached.
After your 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.
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.
Here are a few factors that can help determine the longevity of a dental implant:
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.
Regular Dental Appointments
It is important to continue visiting your dentist twice a year for preventive hygiene appointments. 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
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.
If you tend to grind or clench your teeth at night, you may want to ask your dentist about a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
Some lifestyle choices, such as smoking or chewing tobacco, 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.