Dental implants are a common treatment option to replace missing and damaged teeth. The titanium screws are placed directly into your jaw, fusing with the bone to replace the root of your teeth. However, while they clearly have a solid foundation, do you have confidence in how long your implants will last? Having dental implants is a significant investment in your oral health, so it pays to understand what you’re getting and how to ensure they last as long as possible.
What Affects the Lifespan of Dental Implants?
While they are designed to be a permanent solution and can last up to 30 years, how long dental implants actually last will depend on how well you look after your teeth and your oral hygiene. There are several factors that can reduce how long your implants will last:
- Oral health – as with your natural teeth, your implants need to be well looked after. While titanium and ceramic may be resistant to decay, your gums and surrounding teeth can still be damaged by bad hygiene and issues like gum disease can lead to implant failure.
- Lifestyle choices – if you smoke and drink alcohol, it can have a significant impact on how long your dental implants last. Smoking can restrict blood flow and oxygen levels and slow down your recovery as well as producing bacterial plaque that can lead to gum disease.
- Injury or damage – just like your natural teeth, ceramic crowns aren’t indestructible. They can be cracked or damaged by facial injuries or by chewing hard or sticky foods.
- Medical conditions – conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system can make you more susceptible to infections. This makes the healing process more complicated and lengthy and increases the chance of implant failure.
- Position of implants – your teeth have different functions when it comes to chewing, eating and biting. The teeth at the back of your mouth are put under additional pressure, which can impact the lifespan of implants. Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw repeatedly can also affect how long they last.
How to Care for Dental Implants
When it comes to the lifespan of your dental implants, a lot comes down to how well you care for them. A lot of this care is similar to that of your natural teeth. You should brush twice a day and floss regularly to avoid the build-up of plaque. This will keep your gums healthy and help support your implants. You’ll also need to visit your Wollongong dentist regularly for checkups. This enables any issues to be identified and rectified quickly and hopefully will mean that your implants can stay firmly in place.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that your immediate aftercare can make a significant difference to the risk of implant failure. You’ll want to ensure your dentist is aware of any medical conditions so they can account for this during your treatment. You’ll also want to consider your lifestyle choices. Stopping smoking and reducing how much alcohol you drink, especially while your implant is healing and fusing with your jawbone, can make all the difference.
The Importance of Finding a Good Implant Dentist
As well as your oral health, medical conditions and lifestyle choices, the one other major factor that influences how long your dental implants last is how good they are in the first place. Before choosing a dental implant dentist, you’ll want to know that they have the right level of education and are committed to ongoing training, that they have a lot of experience in dealing with a variety of cases, and that they will deliver personalised treatment planning. You’ll also want to know that they are using high-quality materials that comply with safety and quality regulations.
How long dental implants last will vary from patient to patient. However, there is a lot you can do to make them last longer. Choose an experienced Fairy Meadow dentist and practice great oral hygiene, and they could well last you a lifetime.