You may have heard that dental implants are the perfect solution for your missing or broken teeth? However, is there a point when a replacement is needed? This is a question many people ask themselves. Implants are designed to last the patient’s lifetime, but some factors can affect their longevity. Knowing these factors will be beneficial to you as you will know what to do to increase the longevity of your teeth implants. The focus of this article is to answer the pertinent question, “Do dental implants last forever?” Therefore, if this has been challenging you, read on to find a dentist’s honest answer.
What is the Lifetime of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are built to last a lifetime. Studies have shown a dental implant success rate of 90-95% for more than ten years. What does this mean for you if you contemplate having dental implants to replace your broken or missing teeth? Dental implants can last a lifetime if maintained as expected. The durability of dental implants is one of the key reasons you should get a dental implant.
Although the longevity of dental implants depends on various factors, as will be discussed later in this article, they have an approximate lifespan of 25 years. Therefore, dental implants offer a great way to replace missing natural teeth if taken good care of. You can be sure that cases of constant dental implant failure will not be an issue for you.
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Factors that Affect the Durability of Dental Implants
What do you think you can do to enhance the durability of your dental implants? Well, there are certain things you can do to increase their longevity. If you have not already considered this question, then consider these factors that affect the durability of dental implants:
As expected, your diet will play a role in determining how long your dental implant lasts. After getting your teeth implants, your dentist will refer you to a diet usually grouped into three: one to two weeks after dental implant surgery, two to three months after surgery, and three months and above after the surgery. These first two periods are crucial for your dental implants, and what you eat here will determine the lifespan and success of your dental implants. Let’s look at what dentists say about the three-period diet categories.
One to Two Weeks After Surgery
Within this period, your dentist will advise you to eat a liquid and nutritious diet. This is because your gums are still weak due to the dental implants surgery, so it has the potential of being damaged by hard foods. Eating liquid food means that there is minimal risk on your dental implants that may be due to chewing.
According to dentists, this is the healing period in which the body needs ultimate rest. You need to give your body enough rest time to recover from the anesthetic and reduce internal bleeding during this period. By eating liquid food, you give your dental implants enough time to heal and, in the long run, ensure that they last longer. Here are some dentist-recommended foods you should eat during this period:
- Fruit juices
- Wheat cream
Two Weeks to Three Months After Surgery
During this period, you should slowly move from a liquid to a soft food diet. It is advised that after two weeks of getting your dental implants, you can begin chewing them for them to fit correctly and feel comfortable in the mouth. However, you should remain extra careful at this time if you want your dental implants to last long. Don’t transition straight to hard foods because the implants have not yet fused fully with your gums and jawbone. Therefore, if you directly move to tough foods, you risk damaging the dental implants and having to start over.
Here are some dentist-recommended foods to eat during this period:
- Eggs (omelet and boiled eggs can be chewed easily)
- Soft bread or toast sandwiches without crusts
- Low-fat yogurt
- Soft cheeses such as Brie
Three Months and Above After the Surgery
After three months, you can move from a soft food diet to a regular solid diet that needs some chewing. During this period, it is safe for you to have hard foods such as crispbreads without worrying about damaging your dental implants or causing any harm to them. However, you should avoid using your teeth to chew rigid non-food objects like wrist bands or opening beverage bottles.
Your Diet Will Influence the Success Rate of Your Dental Implants
As discussed above, your diet affects how long you can use your dental implants. Therefore, it is essential that you follow all instructions given by your dentist during each stage to increase their durability and lifespan.
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The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant placement procedure will affect how long they last. During the placement, a titanium post is placed in the jawbone. In some cases, a single dental implant may replace several teeth, while others require two or more implants depending on how many teeth are being replaced. You should note that the placement involves a surgical operation. So, what will happen if an inexperienced surgeon or implant dentist handles you? We concur on this that your dental implants will not last long. The worst of all is that you may get other oral infections and bone loss due to inappropriate procedures.
Dental implants are expensive; therefore, you don’t want to be on the loss because of an inexperienced placement. So, make sure you go to a place where implants are done professionally and with care. You can get to know if your oral surgeon is experienced by looking at their duration in the service. Some key factors you should consider include:
- Practice reputation
- Insurance and payment plans
- Professional affiliations and memberships
- Accreditations and awards
- Patient reviews and testimonials
Maintenance and Care
Kurt Vonnegut was right when he said, “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.” Dental implants require maintenance and care, just like your natural teeth. After replacing their missing or damaged teeth with dental implants, most people end it at that. They don’t remember the maintenance and care part, which then leads to dental implant failure. Don’t be like these people, as the durability of your dental implant will largely depend on how you maintain them. Poor oral hygiene can be detrimental to your prosthetic tooth.
The following are some dentist-recommended practices for maintaining and caring for your dental implant:
- Brush at least twice daily using American Dental Association (ADA)-accepted fluoride toothpaste or gel.
- Floss once daily and use a mouthwash that ADA has approved.
- Visit your dentist and oral surgeon for regular checkups.
- Take care of any dental problems early on to prevent them from getting worse.
A dental implant can be used to replace missing teeth either in the back or front of your mouth. Implants at the back of the mouth get more chewing pressure compared to those in front. Chewing pressure can weaken and wear out implants as it applies pressure on them. Implants in the front of your mouth are less subjected to such immense chewing pressures. Thus they can last you longer than those at the back.
The location where you place these implants will affect their durability, strength, and longevity. So if you are planning to replace several teeth with a dental implant, they should be placed in areas that receive less chewing or biting stress, like the lower jawbone area (mandible).
The Health Status of Your Gums
Although it is true that oral health conditions such as cavities are not common in the mouth of a dental implant person, gum disease is still possible.
Gum disease is a highly probable factor that affects dental implants negatively. It occurs when plaque buildup on your teeth causes infections, leading to bone deterioration and damage to tissue surrounding the gums. Although teeth implants last long, such a condition can lower their durability.
Dental Implant Procedures can be Stressful and Daunting.
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What are the Components of Dental Implants?
A conventional dental implant has three main parts; the titanium screw or post, tooth restoration or prosthesis, and abutment. All these three components are essential in keeping your dental implants more durable and aiding in operations.
The Titanium Post or Screw
This is the primary support for your prosthetic tooth. It can be a screw-shaped or cylinder-like structure that extends from the gums to the jawbone to attach it firmly and help improve its stability.
The Tooth Restoration or Prosthesis
This is what you replace using dental implants as replacements for a lost natural tooth. The prosthetic crown, bridge, or denture is usually made from porcelain and metal alloy. Porcelain gives it a teeth whitening outlook, while the metal acts as a support for your new tooth replacement.
The abutment connects the rest of the dental implant components with one another to keep them firm and stable. It is usually made from titanium or surgical steel.
Some Oral Infections Need Thorough Examination to Determine if a Dental implant is Needed.
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Dental Implants Vs. Teeth Dentures; Which One Should You Go For?
There are various tooth replacement options available, including dental bridges and teeth dentures. However, choosing between teeth dentures and dental implants can be problematic. For this reason, we compiled this guide to help you make an informed decision between the two. Consider the following factors when deciding between dental implants and teeth dentures:
Dental implants are more durable than teeth dentures. A dental implant is firmly attached to its abutment, unlike dentures and false teeth, which can be easily dislodged by accident or due to changes in mouth structure over time. Therefore, it does not move around even if you bite down hard on your food.
Implants are more comfortable than teeth dentures. Dentures tend to irritate the gums and surrounding tissues thus causing discomfort over time. On the contrary, teeth implants are smooth, firm, and painless as they are firmly attached to your jawbone.
Dentures give an artificial look because you see the gum line of your teeth. However, dental implants are enclosed in your gums, making them look more natural and pleasant to the eye. Teeth implants look like natural teeth; thus, people will not realize whether they are implants or natural teeth.
Based on these comparisons of other tooth replacement options, we are sure you can make an informed decision. The next time you visit your best implant dentist, you will know what you want.
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It’s a fact that dental implants are quite expensive. I know that this is a factor preventing many people from getting dental implants. For this reason, we decided to come up with a lasting solution at Ivory Dental Manteca. Apart from accepting all insurances, we see patients without covers.
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