What Are Dental Implants?
If you have missing teeth, dental implants can provide a long-term solution that's more natural looking than dentures or other types of bridges. Dental implants are small titanium posts that are placed in the upper or lower jawbone where there is no natural tooth remaining. Your dentist will then attach a replacement tooth (also known as an abutment) to the implant post with metal screws and tiny metal plates.
This new tooth can be made to look just like the rest of your teeth, so you won't even know it's not one.
Dental implants are very strong and durable because they're made from metal; therefore, they will last as long as your bone holds up.
If you take care of them properly, they should last decades without any complications arising during this time period at all. However, some patients do experience temporary discomfort due to swelling around the area where their gums were cut open during surgery; but this discomfort goes away within a few days after surgery has been completed successfully.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dental implants are made of titanium, which is strong enough to withstand the normal wear and tear of chewing food for years to come. In addition to being strong and durable, titanium is not affected by the acids in your mouth and does not decay from bacteria or tooth decay.
When Do You Need Dental Implants?Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. They are a permanent solution to tooth loss, including the loss of all of your natural teeth. Dental implants are also a good option for people who have lost their teeth due to gum disease or tooth decay.
Dental implants can be placed as an alternative to dentures or bridges, which must be replaced periodically and may not be as stable as dental implants.
Dental implant placement is done over several visits, with the final visit being devoted entirely to the actual placement of the new tooth into your jawbone with cementation (fusing).
Dental Implant Care and Protection
If a dental implant is cared for properly, it can last for decades or even a lifetime. The longevity of an implant depends on several factors: how well you maintain your oral hygiene and how diligently you adhere to your dentist's post-surgical instructions, such as avoiding activities that could dislodge the implant, among others.
Dental implants are extremely durable because they're made from titanium. This is the same material used in aircraft, artificial hip joints, and other medical devices. They're also secured to the jawbone with a screw that's designed to fuse with the bone over time.
Maintain Good Oral HygieneOne of the most important things you can do to maintain your dental implants is to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day. If you find it difficult to reach all areas of your mouth, use an electric toothbrush with an angled head attachment. Additionally, using specialty products such as toothpaste designed for sensitive gums can help reduce inflammation and swelling in the surrounding tissue around the implant and help prevent gum disease caused by plaque build-up.
Keep Up with Regular Dental VisitsIt's important to keep up with regular dental visits, especially if you have a dental implant. If your implant is not maintained properly, it could become loose and need to be replaced. Regular checkups can also help you identify any problems early on, which means the issue can be treated before it becomes more serious or expensive.
Regular checkups are also a good way for your dentist to ensure that you're keeping up with good oral hygiene habits, so your mouth will stay healthy even after the initial repair is done.
Other Maintenance Tips to Follow for Dental Implant CareDental implants are long-lasting if you take care of them. Here are some tips for keeping your dental implants healthy:
|Don't smoke. Smoking causes gum disease, making it harder for a dentist to place the implant correctly. Additionally, the dental implant can lose its color if you smoke and come off earlier than expected.
|Don't drink too much alcohol. Alcohol also causes gum disease and weakens the bone under your gums, making it harder for a dentist to place the implant correctly.
|Avoid grinding your teeth or biting your nails. Both habits can loosen and weaken nearby teeth, which could lead an implant to move out of place or break off entirely over time. If you grind your teeth at night while sleeping, consider using a mouth guard designed specifically for this purpose, or ask your dentist about other options such as wearing retainers during the day when possible (for example: when working) but not at night when sleeping (as they may cause sleep issues).
The tips above can also be used for general health care.
The length of time dental implants last depends on the condition of your mouth and gums, your diet and lifestyle habits, and how well you care for them. If you take good care of your dental implants and follow these tips, they can last as long as 20 years or more.
Professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist is the best way to maintain healthy gums and teeth. If it’s been a while since your last teeth cleaning, make an appointment today at Lanier Valley Dentistry, or contact Colin Lentz, DDS.