Did you know that tooth decay is the most common health condition worldwide? Tooth decay can eventually lead to tooth loss which leads to problems eating and speaking and can ruin your overall confidence.
If you're looking to restore your smile, you may be thinking about getting dental implants. But questions remain, like how long do dental implants last? What can affect the lifespan of dental implants?
Luckily, you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn the answers to those questions and much more!
Overview of Dental Implants
So you can fully understand how long dental implants last, it's first important to understand how they work and what components they have.
Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots that are surgically implanted into your jawbone. The jawbone heals and grows around the implant securing it into place.
Next, a metal connector called an abutment is attached to the implant. A ceramic tooth or a crown is then attached to the abutment, which gives the appearance of a natural tooth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Since dental implants are implanted into your jawbone, they have a lot of stability. Other benefits include:
- Implants function like natural teeth
- Implants are comfortable
- They improve your speech
- They improve your appearance
- They don't impact the health of your surrounding teeth
- They're durable
- Implants give you better confidence
Types of Dental Implants
Endosteal implants are the most common implants used today and provide the most stability as they're implanted directly into your jawbone.
Subperiosteal implants rest on top of the bone but under your gum. A metal frame is placed under the gum with a post attached to it. These types of implants are not used often today as they don't provide much long-term stability.
You can get a single tooth implant or multiple tooth implants. If you've lost multiple teeth in a row you can get an implant-supported bridge that can support 3 to 4 teeth at once.
If you've lost most of your upper and lower teeth, you can get implant-supported dentures. With this type of implant, you'll have 4 to 8 implants surgically placed into your jawbone, and dentures are then permanently attached to these implants.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Endosteal dental implants typically last well over 10 years and many times the implant itself can last the rest of your life.
However, there are several factors that affect the lifespan of dental implants and cause them to fail in a shorter period of time. These factors include:
Poor Oral Hygiene
Proper dental hygiene is just as important for your implants as it is for your natural teeth. If you get a build-up of plaque it can lead to gum disease which eventually damages your gums and jawbones.
If plaque builds up around the area of your implants, it's referred to as peri-implant disease. You can reverse the early stages, but left untreated it can advance to peri-implantitis which often leads to early implant failure.
To get the best dental implant lifespan possible you'll need to:
- Floss daily
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily
- Limit your intake of sugar
- Visit your dentist at least every six months
Better yet, before you get implants take steps to get your oral hygiene routine in the best shape possible. Find a dentist that offers implant services so they can help you establish a routine that will allow you to go into implant surgery as healthy as possible.
Smoking can also affect how long your implants last. Smoking contains nicotine which causes your blood vessels to constrict and reduce blood flow to not only your organs but to your gums too.
If you smoke after you have your implant surgery, it can interfere with the healing process by affecting how well the bone grows around the implant. Smoking also increases the likelihood of gum disease.
If you smoke, it's best to stop smoking at least one week before your implant procedure, and not smoke for two months afterward to allow for bone healing to occur.
Grinding Your Teeth
If you grind your teeth regularly, it can fracture the implant itself, loosen the attachment, or even break the crown. Repeated grinding motions cause the implant to shift over time and interfere with its stability in your jawbone.
If you grind your teeth, you'll need to make a commitment to getting the treatment you need before you get implants. Talk to your dentist about options to protect your teeth from being damaged such as a mouthguard to wear at night.
This way you're protecting both your natural teeth and your future dental implants from any damage.
Chronic Medical Conditions
Certain chronic medical conditions can interfere with how long your dental implant can last. These medical conditions include:
- Diabetes increases your blood sugar and your risk of gum disease
- Osteoporosis weakens your bones and can affect your jawbone too
- A weak immune system from autoimmune disease can affect healing after surgery
- High blood pressure and heart disease can affect blood circulation
If you have any of these conditions, you can typically still get implants, but you'll need to talk to your dentist about your medical conditions and any medications you take.
Talk to Your Dentist About Implants Today
Now you know the answer to the question, how long do dental implants last, you can be confident you're making a smart long-term investment in your dental health.
If you're looking for a dentist, now is the time to turn to the professionals at A Healthy Smile for all your dental needs.
We treat people of all ages and we're here to help you improve your dental health one step at a time. We offer many dental services such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, implants, and bridges.
Make sure you contact us today and schedule an appointment to talk about your dental implant options!