Dental implants are one of the best developments of modern dentistry. They help keep your jaw healthy and maintains facial structure. Dental implants are the ideal answer for those with missing teeth. Once you may have covered your mouth self-consciously when talking, laughing, or even smiling, not anymore!
Replacement teeth can be a great imitation of your natural teeth, but they certainly are not the cheapest treatment on the market. ‘How long do dental implants last?’ therefore, is a reasonable question to ask.
What are dental implants?
Take a look at the different components of Dental Implants. This will help you understand how long your dental implants will last.
- A Titanium implant or screw
- An abutment
- A dental crown
The Titanium Implant consists of a titanium screw that is placed and inserted directly into the jawbone. Titanium, which is a biocompatible material, will not promote any harsh reactions from the immune system and is accepted by the body. They are also used in artificial joints. The jawbone will fuse with the screw over time due through a process we refer to as osseointegration and lock into place. The implant is designed to last a lifetime and if maintained well, it usually will and should not cause any problems.
The abutment is similar to a ‘small hook’ that joins the Titanium screw to the dental crown. This is also designed to last a lifetime and should not require any replacements over time.
The dental crown is the only visible component of the dental implant. It is crafted out of porcelain and then colour-matched for your teeth. This component usually lasts up to 10-15 years on average. They could last much longer than this estimate, but it all depends on good oral hygiene practices.
Factors that determine how long your dental implants last
Having dental implants inserted into your jawbone seems like a relatively straightforward procedure. But all surgical procedures come with a certain level of risk. Implants can fail due to infection in the surrounding gum tissue, the bone failing to fuse with the implant or even due to surgical trauma.
The best way to avoid these issues is to have your surgery performed by a reputable and skilled dentist. This will ensure you have the required pre-surgery consultations to inspect that your oral health is up to par, and the surgery itself will be performed in a clean environment, which should greatly reduce any chances of infection after surgery.
Activities such as playing a sport like footy, rugby or volleyball could pose a risk to your dental crown. Make sure you wear a mouthguard when you are out playing to protect your teeth, you would not want a crack on your porcelain crown when it is something you could have easily prevented.
Unconscious habits like grinding teeth could reduce the lifespan of your dental crown and you may also want to avoid chewing on any hard items, like ice. Excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol can weaken your immune system, making it easier for infections to take hold within your gums and jaws. This could cause long term health risks and could potentially lead to issues with the titanium implant.
There are different ‘types’ of teeth in your mouth and each of these different ‘types’ have a specific task to fulfill. Molars are responsible for grinding your food, this causes them to wear much faster than the other teeth. Depending on the location of the tooth within your mouth and the type of tooth it is, the degree of wear and tear it sees will differ. If your dental implant is replacing a Molar tooth, then the dental crown will be exposed to the daily ground and will see more wear and tear than others.
Poor oral hygiene habits can still affect your dental implants, even if they are not ‘real’ teeth. It is vital that you listen to the advice of your dentist and follow good oral habits before and after the dental implant surgery for your implants to last longer. Once the site has fully healed, you can brush twice a day and floss. This will help remove bacteria and food particles stuck between your teeth and keep your gums healthy and prevent any infections, which will then in turn protect your dental implant and ensure its lifespan is not shortened in vain.