When it comes to tooth replacement, nothing comes close to the strength and longevity of dental implants. Still, implants are a serious investment, so many prospective patients are understandably concerned about how long they will last.
Good news: with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Currently there’s no way to tell exactly how many years because the technology is only about 50 years old. But we do know that the patient from the first successful dental implant procedure in 1965, Swedish volunteer Gösta Larsson, still had functioning implants when he died in 2006.
It’s important to remember, however, that longevity is not the same thing as infallibility. Here’s what you need to know about how to help your implants last a lifetime:
Maintain oral hygiene helps dental implants last
Above all else, you must floss and brush daily, and visit your dentist at least twice a year because the number one reason for implant failure is periodontal disease. If bacteria builds up on the surface of your implant, it can inflame the tissues surrounding the abutment and crown, and if left untreated, bone density around the implant can deteriorate enough to loosen it.
Be gentle with your dental implants
Even without dental implants, it’s never a good idea to chew or bite down on hard items or try to open anything with your teeth. But dental implants are especially susceptible to damage—not the bone-fused implant itself, but the prosthetic crown attached to the implant. Implant crowns have an average lifetime of 10-15 years, and refraining from using them as pliers or scissors will help them to last even longer.
Don’t be a daredevil for long lasting dental implants
We understand that extreme sports might be the reason you need tooth replacement in the first place, but one of the only ways to actually damage the strong titanium implant base that’s fused to your bone is with trauma to the jaw. So if you have a daredevil streak and you have no intention of giving it up, at the very least indulge in sports that require full-face helmets to protect your valuable implants—and your priceless smile.
Quit smoking to keep your dental implants
This tip is most important immediately following the initial implant procedure. Smoking delays the healing process and increases the chance of infection and early implant loss. But overall, smoking burns oral tissues, damages salivary glands, and promotes bacteria growth, which severely increases your risk of gum disease. Plus, studies have shown that smoking increases the annual rate of bone loss around dental implants. That’s why it’s no surprise that smokers are two and half times more likely to have an implant fail than non-smokers.
Ready for a full, bright smile that will last a lifetime?
At Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo, our dental implant experts are highly trained and immensely talented. We treat every procedure with precision and care, and we make it a point to keep our patients comfortable while we help restore their brightest, healthiest smiles. If you have more questions about dental implants or any of our other services, please give us a call today.