How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants are designed to be permanent replacements for missing teeth. But you may ask yourself how long they are likely to last. Here, our Lethbridge dentists discuss the longevity of dental implants in your smile.

What are dental implants?

If you have lost one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend a dental implant in order to secure a tooth replacement restoration like a bridge or crown. If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants can be performed to not only boost your oral health, but prevent missing teeth from impacting your confidence in your smile.

The Dental Implant Process

Dental implants include two components. The implant itself is a tiny titanium rod that is placed in your jawbone. An abutment is screwed into the implant and attaches to the tooth replacement, holding it in place.

The placement procedure is conducted over the course of two visits. At the first appointment, your dentist will implant the titanium rod into your jawbone. This is beneath the gum tissue that will then be reattached in its place.

Throughout the healing process, your gums and jawbone will both bond to your titanium implant.

After the gum tissue has completely healed, you will come in for your second appointment. Your dentist will fit your implant with a tooth replacement to create the appearance of a natural-looking tooth.

Are implants permanent?

The crown or bridge part of your teeth replacement may require replacing after 10 - 15 years even with diligent care. Ask your dentist about how long they expect a crown or bridge to last in your unique case. 

The dental implant itself can have a lifespan of 15 years or more as long as it received proper care. In some instances, you may never have to replace your implant if it doesn't become loosened, damaged or infected.

As the implant is metal, it is very durable, but there are some factors that can influence how long you can expect an implant to last.

Proper Care

Taking care of your dental implants is much the same as caring for your natural teeth. Twice daily brushing and flossing is essential for the long-term success of your implant because it helps keep the surrounding teeth and gum tissue healthy and disease-free.

Regular Dental Appointments

It's important that you continue to visit your dentist twice each year. Not only will these visits include a thorough cleaning that will help to keep your gums and teeth healthy, but they will also provide your dentist with an opportunity to monitor the state of your dental implant as well as the health of your surrounding teeth. Any issues that may arise with gums or gum deterioration can be addressed as early as possible or even prevented altogether.

Protecting Your Teeth from Damage

You should refrain from biting or chewing hard objects such as the end of a pen. You should never use your teeth as a tool to open items. This can cause damage in the form of cracked or chipped teeth.

Your Health

Certain lifestyle choices can impact the tissue surrounding your implant, lessening its stability. Your overall health may also play a part in how successful your implants are over the long run. Certain diseases and medical conditions can lead to a heightened risk of dental implant failure.

To find out if dental implants are right for you, or to schedule an appointment, contact our Lethbridge dentists.

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