For one reason or another, you’re missing a tooth. Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us.
Fortunately, dental implants are a remarkable solution for replacing missing teeth. They keep your smile healthy and protected, and when properly cared for, they can last for a long time. A properly healed and cared-for dental implant may last a lifetime for many people, though the crowns attached to it could last up to 20 years.
If you want your dental implants to last as long as possible, you’ll need to maintain your dental hygiene at home and ensure you visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of compatible materials, such as titanium. If you lose a tooth due to infection or injury, a dental implant can be inserted to create a solid base for crowns (an artificial tooth).
Implants are surgically placed into the jawbone to support dental prostheses like crowns, bridges, or dentures. This process ensures stability and functionality, giving you a natural-looking smile.
Dental implants may not be the right choice for everyone. Good candidates for dental implants need to have:
- Healthy gums
- Enough jaw bone to support the implant
- Good overall health
Without enough jaw strength to support the implant, it could fail and not fuse properly.
Getting the Most from Dental Implants
Dental implants act much like natural teeth, so you’ll need to care for them the same way. A dental exam every 6 months lets your dentist check that the implant is fitting in with the rest of your teeth and hasn’t become loose.
For the most part, you should treat implants like they’re your own teeth. If you want your implants to last as long as possible, remember the factors that can influence their lifespan.
Oral Hygiene and Maintenance
Follow your dentist’s oral care routine recommendations for implants. There’s nothing wrong with spending extra time and effort on keeping your implant well cared for. For example, a dentist may recommend using non-abrasive toothpaste or nylon interdental brushes.
Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a repetitive motion of clenching or gnashing teeth. Many people aren’t aware they’re doing it, either because it’s subconscious or because they do it while they sleep.
This repetitive motion puts enormous strain on your jaw. It could crack the crown, the abutment, or the implant itself if allowed to continue. Stress, poor sleep health, and crooked teeth could all cause teeth grinding. Funny enough, it turns out yoga can protect your teeth if it’s reducing your stress.
Smoking is detrimental to dental implants. It may impact blood flow to the surgery site, hindering healing and increasing the risk of implant failure. While implant failure is rare, some studies show it’s more than 2 times as common for smokers compared to non-smokers.
You should also limit your intake of sugary foods, as sugar is one of the leading causes of dental issues.
Medical Conditions & Medication
Medical conditions may reduce the lifespan of your implant if they affect the healing process or osseointegration, which is how the implant fuses to your bone. Notable conditions include:
- A weak immune system
- High blood pressure and other heart conditions
Immunosuppressive drugs or blood-thinning medications could also increase your risk of implant failure, so it’s important to let your dentist know the sort of medicine you’re taking.
Why No Dairy After Dental Implants
One intriguing dietary consideration after dental implant surgery is to avoid dairy products. This may seem odd since many dairy products are high in protein and nutritious. In fact, milk is generally very good for your teeth.
The problem with dairy for your dental implants is that it can cause an inflammatory response in the oral tissue. This inflammation could affect the implant’s healing process. What’s more, dairy could possibly trigger vomiting, which could send acidic fluid into your mouth and damage your new implant.
Average Lifespan of Dental Implants
A dental implant should be a permanent addition to your mouth. This means the lifespan of a dental implant isn’t technically about how long it lasts but rather ensuring it doesn’t fail. Fortunately, failure is exceedingly rare. Dental implants have a 90-95% success rate over 10 years.
The replacement tooth, or crown, is a bit of a different story. The crown will need to be cared for, just like your natural teeth, and may need to be replaced through regular usage. However, depending on your crown type, it could last 10–20 years with good care.
Bringing Back Your Smile
Dental implants may provide a long-lasting solution for missing teeth, but proper care and maintenance are essential. Following good oral hygiene practices, staying proactive with dental visits, and making informed lifestyle choices may help your dental implants stand the test of time.
And our team at Viceroy Dental will be right by your side to help. We’re experienced with modern implant techniques and are excited to have you stop by. If you’re looking for a way to fill that gap, book an appointment with us today, and we can see if dental implants are right for you!
Here’s to a lifetime of big smiles and healthy teeth!