Of all the cosmetic dental procedures you can get, dental implants are one of the most effective. With a 97 percent success rate, implants are a great choice for a lot of people.
Are you considering dental implants? Do you have questions like “What are the benefits of dental implants?” or “How long do dental implants last?”
If so, read on to learn everything you need to know.
What Are Dental Implants?
Have you lost a permanent tooth or had to have it removed? Rather than leaving the gap alone, consider dental implants for restoring your smile.
A dental implant acts just like a tooth root. It has a screw-like shape, and the dentist inserts it directly into your jawbone. Once inserted, the implant will bond with the natural jaw bone.
After inserting the implant, your dentist will place a connector (also known as an abutment) on top of it. Then, they’ll add a crown (or artificial tooth) on top of the abutment. The result is an artificial tooth that blends in perfectly with your natural teeth and is just as secure.
Dental Implant Benefits
There are lots of benefits of dental implants. The following are some of the top reasons why people choose them over other cosmetic procedures:
- They function like natural teeth and restore full chewing power
- They help to prevent bone loss
- They stabilize the adjacent teeth to prevent overlapping or crookedness
- They help to reduce the risk of gum disease
- They prevent facial sagging, wrinkles, and signs of premature aging
Are you ready to restore your smile? Are you uninterested in relying on more intrusive options like dentures? If so, implants are an excellent alternative.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
When they’re well cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Keep in mind, though, that the implant is separate from the crown placed on top of it.
In theory, you should never need to replace the implant. However, the crown will likely need to be replaced after about 10-15 years to make up for general wear and tear.
Crowns might not last forever. At the same time, though, their lifespan is still a lot longer than that of other replacements. For example, dentures only last about 5 years before they need replacing.
Tips for Preserving Your Dental Implants
The key to making your dental implants last as long as possible is proper hygiene. If you take good care of all of your teeth, including the artificial ones, you’ll extend the implant and crown’s lifespan and be able to save a lot of money.
Here are some expert tips for preserving your dental implants:
Eat and Drink with Caution
True, dental implants do function like your natural teeth. They’re very stable and will restore your chewing power. However, that doesn’t give you a free pass to eat and drink with complete abandon.
In general, good eating habits will help you to preserve your implants. For example, bite into solid foods with caution. Don’t just gnaw on chicken bones or bite into super-hard candy.
Let hot drinks cool a bit, too. Because your dental implant contains metal, you might find that you have a little extra sensitivity when drinking hot things like tea or coffee.
Be careful with very cold foods or drinks, too. Avoid eating or drinking something cold right after eating something hot. The heat will cause the porcelain crown to expand a bit. If you eat or drink something cold immediately after, you might experience some discomfort or sensitivity.
Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
Do you have a habit of ripping open packages with your teeth? Do you ever use them as scissors when you don’t have a pair handy? If this is the case, it’s time to ease up.
If you’re regularly using your teeth as tools, you might be more prone to accidentally damaging your implant or crown. Resist the urge and invest in a few extra pairs of scissors instead. It’ll cost a lot less than a dental procedure.
Brush and Floss
You don’t have to do any special maintenance when you get dental implants. However, you should make sure you’re brushing twice a day and flossing your teeth at least once per day.
Consider using a manual toothbrush instead of an electric one. The vibrations from an electric toothbrush could potentially damage or loosen your implant.
When it comes to flossing, be gentle. Aggressive flossing may loosen your crown and make it easier for bacteria to get in between it and the gums. If you’re particularly worried about this, a Water Pik might be a more effective and less invasive choice.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
Keep up with regular check-ups at the dentist’s office. According to the experts at Willow Creek Dental, it’s a good idea to go in every six months to get your teeth professionally cleaned and inspected for cavities and other potential issues.
Regular check-ups can help you to avoid serious (and expensive) problems with your implants and with your other teeth. They also give you a chance to ask questions and address concerns early, before they can escalate.
Be sure to communicate with the dental hygienist at the beginning of your appointment and let them know that you have a dental implant. This information should be in your chart, but it’s still best to remind them as an extra precaution. If they know that you have an implant, they’ll be sure to be gentle during the cleaning.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
You now know more about getting dental implants and can answer questions like “how long do dental implants last?” with ease. Are you ready to go ahead and schedule an appointment?
If you do move forward with implants, be sure to keep the tips mentioned above for preserving them in mind. They’ll help you to get the most bang for your buck.
Want to learn more about improving your dental health? We have lots of helpful articles in the Health section of our site.