Dental implants are considered a permanent tooth replacement solution – but does that mean they will last a lifetime? How long your dental implants last depends on how you care for them. Remember that a dental implant includes the implant itself (titanium screw), the abutment and the dental restoration on top. Your crown or denture may suffer damage or normal wear and tear, but as long as your jawbone and gums stay healthy, the implant itself should not need replacement.
The primary factor that influences the lifespan of your dental implant is your oral hygiene or how well (and often) your brush and floss your teeth. If bacteria is allowed to accumulate on your dental implant’s surfaces, inflammation (mucositis) of the surrounding tissues can develop. When left untreated, mucositis may cause peri-implantitis, a serious disease that can result in bone deterioration and dental implant loosening.
While dental implants don’t require extra maintenance, they should still be cared for like your natural teeth. This also includes not biting down on something too hard or trying to open things with your teeth. In addition, a smoking habit will greatly increase your chances of implant failure.
How long your dental implant lasts also depends on the skill of your dentist. An experienced and well-trained dentist will carefully evaluate the osseointegration of your implant after placement, ensuring your jawbone completely absorbs the titanium post before the crown, denture or other restoration is placed on top.
If your dental implant becomes loose, infected or damaged, you need to see your dentist and discuss the possibility of replacing the implant. Dr. Wayne Suway is a reputable implant dentist who can educate you on what your dental implants need to last a lifetime.