Dental implants represent a significant advancement in dental technology for those missing teeth. Whether you’re considering dental implants for the first time or specifically researching the longevity of this life-changing procedure, this blog answers the following key questions:

  1. What are dental implants?
  2. Do dental implants last forever? 
  3. How can I increase tooth implant longevity? 
  4. Where can I get long-term implants?

While 120 million Americans live with a gap in their smile, dental implants can offer the perfect solution. Let’s begin by outlining the structure of a dental implant, laying the groundwork for how they effectively replace missing teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the ideal solution for replacing missing or damaged teeth. Built to be long-term, implants offer a long-lasting and natural-looking solution for missing teeth, making them an excellent alternative for those who don’t want dentures

Do dental implants come out? Unlike traditional dentures or bridges, which rest on the surface of the gums or attach to adjacent teeth and can be removed, dental implants are securely anchored into the jawbone, offering superior stability and support for artificial teeth. 

Dental implants have three parts: a titanium post, abutment, and crown.

1. Titanium Post

The foundation of a dental implant is the titanium post, a small yet remarkably strong component surgically “implanted” into the jawbone where the original tooth was located. Titanium is chosen for its strength and unique ability to fuse with bone, known as osseointegration. This fusion allows the post to serve as a new tooth root, providing a secure anchor for the artificial tooth and preserving jawbone health.

2. Abutment

Attached to the top of the titanium post is the abutment, a connector that plays a critical role in the structure of a dental implant. After the post has integrated with the jawbone, the abutment is fitted onto the post, securely linking the titanium post to the replacement tooth. 

3. Crown

The final element of a dental implant is the crown—the artificial tooth connected to the abutment. Crowns are specially crafted to match the appearance of your natural teeth in color, shape, and size, ensuring that your dental implants blend seamlessly with your smile. The crown restores the functionality of your missing tooth and the aesthetics of your smile, allowing for everyday eating, speaking, and smiling without worrying about your tooth shifting or slipping.

By choosing dental implants, you’re not only restoring your smile but also investing in a durable and natural-looking option that’s built to last. Your follow-up question is likely, “How long do teeth implants last?” Let’s explore the answer.

Do Dental Implants Last Forever?

When considering dental implants, one of the most common questions we hear from patients is, “Do dental implants last forever?” It’s a great question, especially when evaluating the return on investment of this dental procedure, but there’s no straightforward answer.

The implant itself—the titanium post inserted into your jawbone—is designed to last for decades, potentially for the rest of your life, thanks to how it fuses with the bone and becomes a lasting part of your mouth. 

However, the crown—the visible artificial tooth—does have a shelf life. Generally, crowns can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, although this timeframe can vary based on factors such as:

  1. Wear and Tear: Just like natural teeth, crowns undergo daily wear and tear from eating, chewing, and biting. Over time, the mechanical stresses of daily use can compromise the crown’s structural integrity, potentially leading to cracks, chips, or fractures.
  2. Material: Certain crowns can withstand longer periods of wear and tear than others based on their material. For example, porcelain crowns offer a more natural appearance but are more prone to chipping than metal crowns. Each crown material offers unique pros and cons.
  3. Oral Habits: Habits such as grinding or clenching teeth (bruxism), chewing ice, biting fingernails, or using your teeth to open packaging can put additional stress on crowns, potentially leading to cracks, chips, or even breaks.
  4. Dental Hygiene: Poor dental hygiene can lead to issues like gum disease or tooth decay around the crown. Even though the crown itself can’t decay, the underlying tooth and surrounding gum tissue can, which might necessitate crown replacement.
  5. Placement: The crown of an implant that replaces molars or premolars may wear out faster than those on front teeth due to the greater forces exerted on back teeth during chewing.

So, while the implant itself has the potential to last forever, the crown attached to it may need to be replaced at some point. With the proper care, dental implants can provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution to missing teeth, enhancing your smile and quality of life for many years to come. 

Next, we take a look at how to extend a dental implant’s lifespan

How to Increase Tooth Implant Longevity

You can adopt several key practices to extend your tooth implant longevity.

Practice Diligent Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for the health of your dental implants and your natural teeth. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash can prevent plaque buildup and reduce the risk of gum disease. Remember, even though the crown can’t decay, the surrounding gum and bone health can, which will impact the implant’s stability.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings allow them to monitor the health of your implant, the condition of the crown, and the health of surrounding tissues. Early detection of potential issues can prevent complications that may jeopardize your implant.

Avoid Hard and Sticky Foods

Hard and sticky foods can place excessive stress on your implant, leading to damage over time. Ice, hard candies, and caramel can be particularly problematic. Opt for softer foods and cut harder foods into smaller pieces to avoid direct impact on your implant.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can impair the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure by affecting the health of the gum and bone. Quitting smoking is not only beneficial for your implant but also improves your overall health.

Wear a Mouthguard (If Needed)

If you grind or clench your teeth at night, consider getting a custom-fitted mouthguard made to prevent damaging your artificial and natural teeth. Wearing a nightguard protects the implants from excessive force and reduces the strain on your jaw joint.

Avoid Using Your Teeth as Tools

Opening packages, cutting tape, or holding objects with your teeth can put unnecessary stress on your dental implants. Using your teeth as tools can damage or weaken the crown, shortening your dental implant’s lifespan.

For the best results, follow your dentist’s guidelines after your dental implant procedure to help ensure that your implant heals properly and remains secure.

Get Long-Term Implants at Northside Dental Co.

Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth, giving you a long-lasting and life-changing smile.

To learn more about whether dental implants are right for you, book an appointment online at Northside Dental Co. From routine cleanings to full-mouth dental implants, our dentists will develop a personalized treatment plan that considers your unique oral health needs and meets your goals. During this appointment, you can ask questions such as “How much does a single implant tooth cost?” and “What does the process involve?”

We’re transforming the dental care experience for our patients by making a visit to the dentist comfortable, modern, and approachable. We provide exceptional dentistry services using the latest technology, techniques, and 3D imaging software.

Take the next step towards a more confident and complete smile by scheduling your appointment online today!