Lifespan of a Dental Implant
When you are talking to the dentist about your tooth replacement options, it is important to consider the lifespan of each investment option. Some options will cost more to complete but last decades whereas others are not as expensive but will need to be replaced or repaired sooner.
Dental implants may be one of the more expensive choices for replacing your missing teeth or repairing damaged ones, but it is the longest lasting option available. There are decades of research, case studies, technical improvements, and evidence to suggest that dental implants last about 25 years, depending on certain factors. In the same amount of time you can expect to replace other dental prosthetics that are not as comfortable day to day.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are usually made of three separate pieces to provide you with an artificial tooth with an artificial root that is anchored in the jaw bone. The dentist will drill a hole in the jaw bone to surgically place a titanium or zirconia post. The post will heal into the bone and they will fuse together to form a solid, unmoving base. Then the dentist will attach an abutment to the top of the post where the dental crown will connect to the post. After the crown is set in place, the dental implant will look like a natural tooth and will have the same function as your other natural teeth. Most people will not be able to tell the difference between your dental implant and the rest of your teeth. Not everyone is an ideal candidate for dental implants because you will need to be able to heal from surgery and have a strong enough bone to support the implant. The dentist will review your complete medical and dental history to best understand your history of infections, your ability to heal, and any chronic medical conditions that may affect your dental implant.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
As compared to the alternative tooth replacement options like dental bridges and dentures, dental implants offer numerous benefits. As compared to the decades of tooth replacement that is nearly as strong as and as functional as natural teeth, dental bridges are held in place by surrounding teeth but lack a base to add sturdiness. Other reasons to choose dental implants for your long term tooth replacement include:
Dental Structure Preservation
Because the dental implant fuses with the jaw bone to form a stable base, the bone has a better chance of remaining dense and strong as compared to the jawbones below dental bridges and dentures. When there is a missing tooth and a missing root, the pressure from chewing and biting is unevenly distributed which can damage other teeth, your gums and your jaw over time. Without any missing teeth, your speech will be clearer and you will be supporting the skin and muscles of your face.
Improved Self Assurance
When you have a complete smile and do not have to worry about your false teeth shifting when you talk and smile, you have the ability to engage with others more confidently. If you are uncomfortable having a missing front tooth, you may refrain from smiling or talking to people resulting in people misinterpreting your avoidance. People with dental implants often have to tell others which tooth is the replacement from the other natural surrounding teeth.
Minimal Changes to Your At Home Oral Routine
You will not need to buy any additional tools or special cleaning solutions to take care of your dental implants. They remain permanently in your mouth so you will not have to take them out to clean separately in a more time consuming step. You can just brush, floss, and rinse with your dental implants in place the way that you do with your other teeth.
Depending on the location of the missing tooth in your mouth, the other treatments necessary to prepare your mouth for the implant and where you are located in the country, the price of your dental implant will vary. When you consider the 25 years you can count on your dental implant offering you relief from a life with a missing tooth, the cost becomes more than worth the investment.
Longevity of Dental Implants
As previously stated, the approximate life span of dental implants is about 25 years, but it is affected by a number of factors. In some cases, you will be able to make adjustments to increase the chances that your implant will last even longer. Your dental implant has the ability to last longer with changes to your:
- At home oral hygiene care between professional dental appointments
- Healthy diet
- Active lifestyle
- Location of the implant in your mouth
- The experience and training of the dental professional who performed your dental implant
When you take the time to brush twice a day with a soft bristled brush, floss, and rinse with an oral care solution your teeth will be less likely to have problems with plaque and gum disease. Keeping twice yearly dental appointments for cleaning and exams will help address any potential problems before they become a threat to the dental implant. Avoiding sticky and hard foods will keep unnecessary pressure off the dental implant and prevent problems between the crown and the abutment. An experienced dental professional will help complete the thorough screening before your procedure and will be able to complete the surgery by placing the implanted post in the ideal place both functionally and aesthetically.
Why Dental Implants Fail
There is not just one reason that dental implants fail to work for people. There are steps you can take to prevent some problems which lead to implants coming loose or falling out.
- Habitual smoking
- Excessive drinking of alcohol
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
- Gum disease
- Certain medications
If you are concerned about your chronic medical problems or habits, be sure to talk to the dentist before your dental implant procedure. The dentist can make adjustments to your treatment to help reduce those risks.