When you’ve been advised that dental implants might be in your near future, you likely have a lot of questions. One of the most pressing ones is whether they’re worth the cost and pain it takes to get them placed.
The question, “Do dental implants last forever?” is on everyone’s mind when they’re considering having the procedure done. The short answer is that they’re not going to outlast you, but they sure will last a long time—as long as you take care of them!
To get the real detailed answer, we have to go into a little more of an explanation of how dental implants work.
Breaking Down a Dental Implant
When you’re missing one or a few teeth, it might not seem like a big deal, especially if they are hidden. But your teeth have a job for a reason. Without them, the bone around the gap can begin to deteriorate. The surrounding teeth begin to shift to make up for the missing ones, and your entire mouth changes.
To fix that problem, a dental implant is often suggested. It’s a stop-gap, long-term replacement for your missing natural teeth. Better than dentures, worse than a healthy, original set of choppers, this procedure is commonly performed in dental offices around the world.
If it’s that common, many people wonder why dental implants fail. Although it does happen on occasion, in reality, the failure rate of dental implants is extremely low.
It’s much easier now than it was a decade or two ago to have an implant placed. Technology has made it streamlined and seamless. Now, problems with a person’s body rejecting the implant or any functionality issues rarely ever happen, and they’re easily fixed.
How long they last depends on your own personal habits and dental hygiene. Otherwise, the only problems would occur if you misuse your implant or had a medical condition that causes your body to have a negative response to the procedure.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
Implants today are made of materials that are specifically chosen due to their low rejection rates and long-term durability. The most popular ones have titanium or zirconia posts. These posts are surgically embedded into the patient’s jawbone. They’re the artificial root that will eventually hold the crown, or false tooth.
In addition to the post, an implant is made of an abutment. This fastens to the implant and secures the crown to it. The crown itself is usually made of ceramic. It is designed to match the color and size of the surrounding teeth. Once it’s mounted on the abutment, it functions like your natural teeth.
The implant is less likely to be damaged because it’s secured deep in your jawbone. If there is any problem due to injury or trauma, it’s usually with the crown or abutment because they are exposed.
How Do Teeth Implants Work?
As the crown is secured with the abutment to the implant, it becomes strong and stable enough to do the things your natural teeth normally can do. That doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want.
Even with your regular teeth, you should avoid very hard and sticky foods. The implant is secure, but it’s not set in concrete. (Neither are your actual teeth, by the way. Hard and sticky foods could pull them out, too.)
The screw implant will last forever, but the crown itself isn’t a lifelong thing. That’s great news because you won’t have to go through the surgical part of having the screw implanted any time you need to replace the crown.
People with good brushing and flossing habits can expect the crown itself to last at least ten years, and usually closer to fifteen. Regular dental checkups twice a year can prolong this, but the crown does have a lot of wear and tear, like your regular teeth do.
Another factor in how your implants work and how long they last is where they are placed. Your rear teeth have a more dominant role in chewing food, so they wear down faster than any implants in the front would.
Ask Dr. Lin how to take care of your dental implants to get the maximum longevity out of them!
Why Choose Implants?
There are other avenues you may be able to try before you go with implants. Your tooth could be salvageable with a root canal, for instance, or if you’re missing enough teeth, a partial set of dentures might be a solution.
Dentures do have to be inserted and removed for cleaning and care. They’re not as stable as an implant, so you really do need to be cautious about what you eat with them.
An implant, on the other hand, is a permanent solution. The implant itself should last as long as you live, and it’s easy to replace a crown. Working together, the three pieces that make up a full dental implant replace your natural tooth like it was never missing.
Dental implants allow you to bite and chew your food without a problem. When you chew with dentures, slipping is a common complaint. Cleaning dentures is another extra step, especially if they’re partials. You have to brush and floss your natural teeth and take care of the dentures. The implant is cleaned the same time and way you do your other teeth.
When it comes to long-term solutions, implants are also recommended because they act just like your natural tooth, so they cause less damage. Dental bridges strain the surrounding teeth and pull on them.
No replacement at all causes bone deterioration. Upper teeth will kick in and start the growth process again to fill in the space where the missing lower tooth was.
Once you get past the initial implantation process, this procedure is truly your best, easiest bet for a future of eating, speaking, and smiling naturally.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Still not sure if dental implants are for you, or ready to get started on your new life? Call today and we will schedule you for a consultation with Dr. Lin.