When opting for dental implants to address missing teeth, people want to know that the result is attractive and long-lasting. The process of getting implants is often more expensive and lengthier than other alternatives, so patients need to know that they are investing their money wisely. Fortunately, dental implants are a long-term solution for missing teeth that can last many years with proper maintenance.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are a newer development in dentistry. This solution for replacing missing teeth was invented by Per-Ingvar Branemark in 1952 with the first human installment occurring in 1965. Since then, several advancements have been implemented to make this treatment option even more effective and sustainable.
Since this procedure is still relatively new, it is difficult to predict how long modern implants last. However, many dental professionals claim that this solution typically lasts a minimum of 25 years but can potentially survive a lifetime if properly maintained. Implants used to replace teeth in the front of the mouth often last longer than those used to substitute molars, as the back teeth are more heavily used for chewing.
How long does the crown last?
Dental implants are made up of several components, including the titanium implant placed into the jaw, the abutment, and the crown. While the metal pieces of the prosthetic may never need to be replaced, the porcelain crown portion is more susceptible to wear and tear.
On average, these coverings can withstand approximately 5-7 years of use, but some people can extend the life to 10-15 years with diligent care. Crowns can also chip or crack prematurely when eating certain foods or if an accident happens.
How do patients properly maintain dental implants?
Regular maintenance is necessary to keep implants and the surrounding teeth, gum tissues, and bone healthy. Fortunately, a normal oral hygiene routine that consists of brushing at least twice a day and flossing once is enough. Using mouthwash can help get rid of hard-to-reach bacteria and plaque. Patients must also see a dentist approximately every six months to have the mouth thoroughly cleaned and checked for any signs of dental decay, gum disease, or other common dental issues.
What can happen with improper maintenance?
Neglecting to take care of dental implants can result in a failed implant months or even years down the road. While implants are made of porcelain and metal and, therefore, are not subject to dental decay, the surrounding gums can be affected by periodontal disease, which eventually weakens the underlying jawbone. Over time, the implant can become loose and even fall out of the mouth. Other natural teeth may also suffer the same fate.
Dental implants can potentially last a patient’s entire life, which can make them more cost-effective than other solutions that may only last ten years before needing to be completely replaced. Following instructions during the treatment process and continuing basic maintenance after the procedure is complete is essential for keeping the implant and surrounding teeth healthy and attractive.
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