Dental implants are considered to be one of the best options for tooth replacement. A dental implant can replace a single tooth or act as an anchor for a bridge or dentures. There are many advantages of dental implants, including their longevity. Implants are the longest lasting tooth replacement option available. How long do dental implants last? Here’s what you can expect.
Dental Implants Can Last a Lifetime
The average lifespan of a dental implant is anywhere from 10 -30 years. This means that most likely, depending on your age when you get an implant, it will last for the rest of your life. No other tooth replacement option has the ability to last that long. When you get a dental implant, you are making an investment in your dental health for your lifetime.
Why Do Dental Implants Last So Long?
What is it about dental implants that make them last? Why do they outlast other tooth replacement options?
It’s because of their design.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root system. It consists of an implant root, an abutment, and a crown. The implant root is a titanium post with threads (ridges) like a screw. The implant root is surgically placed in the jaw bone. Titanium is a biocompatible material that will fuse with the bone through a process called osseointegration. This process takes a few months, but once a solid bond is formed, it can last for many years.
The Crown May Not Last as Long
A few months after your implant root is placed and has had time to fully bond with the bone, an abutment and crown can be attached. The abutment is just a post that extends from the root up through the gums for the crown to attach to. The crown is typically made of porcelain, which is durable and resembles natural tooth enamel.
While the implant root can last many years, the crown portion of your dental implant may not. The crown may only last 10-15 years before it will need to be replaced due to typical wear and tear. It may last longer for some, but this is the average timeframe. The cost of the crown is much less than the cost of the whole dental implant, so replacing the crown once or maybe twice in your lifetime isn’t too significant.
What Can I Do to Make My Dental Implant Last Longer?
For a dental implant to last for many years, it does take some basic maintenance on your part. For example:
- Brush and floss your teeth. Keep up with good dental hygiene habits. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. This is recommended for all people, not just those with dental implants. But taking care of your teeth is important for maintaining your dental implant. While your dental implant is not susceptible to decay, preserving your other teeth and your gum health which directly supports it.
- Go to the dentist every 6 months. Routine dental appointments are also important for helping your implant last. Keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy will help your implant stay solidly in place. These exams also identify any potential issues that could jeopardize your implant, such as gum disease.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking is one of the biggest detriments to the health of your dental implant. It restricts the blood flow in vessels in the gums which can affect the healing process as well as osseointegration, so your implant may never solidify.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Keeping yourself healthy is an important part of your dental health as well. Bone health is key, because if your bones weaken your jaw may not be able to support your implant as well as your other teeth. Take vitamins and supplements, especially calcium and potassium for bone health, with approval from your doctor.