Life with missing teeth can be challenging; you’re limited in what you can eat, you have trouble speaking clearly, and you’re reluctant to smile in front of people you don’t know. Dental implants can be an excellent way to fill in those gaps, but you might worry: how long will they last? Here’s what you need to know about the life expectancy of your new teeth – and how you can help extend it!
What are Dental Implants?
Implants are a solution for missing teeth that can provide chewing power near equal to that of real teeth and can help prevent bone loss from affecting the structure of your jaw. The actual implant is a titanium post surgically inserted into the jawbone. Then an abutment is attached, and finally the implant is topped with a crown that will serve as a natural-looking replacement tooth. The post will keep the crown anchored in place, which prevents the slipping that occurs with traditional dentures.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Compared with other methods of replacing teeth, implants have a very long lifespan; however, lifestyle and oral hygiene can affect this period of time. When well-cared for, an implant can last 30 years or more! Note that this estimate only applies to the titanium post component; the crown will still need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years or so.
What Can I Do to Make Sure My Implants Last As Long As Possible?
Fortunately, taking care of implants is simple; the same oral hygiene practices that work for your teeth can also keep the area around your implant healthy. Your implant dentist will be able to make suggestions specifically tailored to your oral health care needs, but in general:
- Continue brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. If you have trouble using traditional dental floss in the area around the implant (or anywhere else in your mouth), consider interdental brushes or water picks that can be easier to use. Mouthwash can also be useful for killing bacteria.
- Don’t clench your jaw or grind your teeth; these habits are connected with a higher implant failure rate. If you suffer from bruxism (nighttime teeth grinding), your dentist may prescribe a nightguard to wear while sleeping.
- Smoking can make it less likely that your implants will successfully join with the jawbone, so it’d be best to stop smoking after the procedure.
- Don’t ignore potential problems; if your dental implant feels loose or causes discomfort, make an appointment as soon as possible.
With good oral health and the right attention, your dental implants can potentially last a lifetime. If you or one of your loved ones are looking for a replacement for a lost tooth, make sure to ask if implants are a viable option.
About the Practice
At Pearl Dental Associates, Scituate patients of all ages can receive quality treatment from a team of well-experienced dentists. They offer dental implants along with other tooth replacement options such as dentures and dental bridges. To schedule an appointment, visit the practice’s website or call (781) 545-9244.