How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for individuals who have lost one or more teeth. They are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone, providing a sturdy foundation for replacement teeth. Dental implants not only improve the appearance of your smile but can also enhance your ability to chew and speak properly. They’re a long-term solution for tooth loss, but how long do dental implants last?

Components of a dental implant

Dental implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible material that can fuse with the jawbone. The implant itself is a small, screw-shaped post that is placed into the jawbone. On top of the implant is an abutment, which connects the implant to the replacement tooth or teeth. The replacement tooth or teeth are typically made of porcelain or a similar material, and they are custom designed to match the colour, shape and size of your natural teeth.

Dental implant surgery

Dental implant surgery is typically performed in several stages. The first stage involves the placement of the implant into the jawbone. The implant is left to heal for several months, during which time it fuses with the bone in a process called osseointegration. Once the implant has fully integrated with the jawbone, a second surgery is performed to attach the abutment to the implant. Finally, the replacement tooth or teeth are attached to the abutment.

Factors that impact the longevity of dental implants

The longevity of dental implants can vary depending on a number of factors. One of the most important factors is the quality and quantity of the jawbone. If there is not enough bone to support the implant, or if the bone is of poor quality, the implant may fail. Other factors that can impact the longevity of dental implants include:

  • Poor oral hygiene: If you do not practice good oral hygiene, bacteria can build up around the implant, leading to infection and implant failure.
  • Smoking: Smoking can impair the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.
  • Bruxism: Grinding or clenching your teeth can put excessive force on the implant, leading to damage and failure.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and autoimmune disorders, can impair the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.

Caring for dental implants

Proper care and maintenance are essential for the longevity of dental implants. Just like natural teeth, dental implants require regular brushing and flossing to keep them clean and free from bacteria. It is also important to schedule regular dental check-ups to ensure the implant and surrounding tissue are healthy. Your dentist may recommend special tools, such as interdental brushes or water flossers, to help you clean around the implant. Avoid chewing on hard foods or ice, which can damage the implant and replacement tooth.

Signs that your dental implants may need replacement

With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last for many years. However, there are signs that your implant may need to be replaced, including:

  • Pain or discomfort around the implant
  • Loose or wobbly implant
  • Swelling or redness around the implant
  • Difficulty chewing or speaking
  • Damage to the replacement tooth or teeth

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can evaluate the implant and determine if replacement is necessary.

In conclusion, dental implants can last for many years with proper care and maintenance. By understanding the factors that impact their longevity and taking steps to care for them, you can enjoy the full benefits of dental implants.