Most human adults can have 32 teeth by the time they’re fully grown. However, adults between the ages of 20 to 64 years of age have an average of only 25.5 remaining teeth. Tooth loss is a common issue that isn’t something to be ashamed of.
If you’re missing teeth, then your best option to replace them is by getting dental implants. These act as semi-permanent replacements that function much like a normal, healthy tooth.
But how long do dental implants last, and how can you make sure to keep them in their best condition?
Why You May Need Dental Implants
The first thing you need to know is why you need dental implants. After all, a few missing teeth don’t seem like such a problem if you still have most of your other ones.
However, there are a few issues that can arise from those gaps in your smile.
First of all, there’s the visual aspect of it all. A smile with a gap may not give the best impression, especially if you work in a professional environment. It may lead people to think that you don’t take care of yourself or that you can’t afford to fix your smile.
Second, missing teeth can cause the remaining ones to shift in their absence. Any teeth on top or below the gap will grow into it. The ones besides the gap may begin to lean and become crooked.
Finally, dental implants can help reduce the strain on your remaining teeth. This is especially important when it comes to your molars.
The molars are responsible for the bulk of your chewing. Without them, you would struggle to work through most foods that aren’t soft or liquid. A dental implant can break down your foods just as well as a normal molar, and it means your remaining ones won’t have to work as hard.
Types of Dental Implants
There are two main types of dental implants that your doctor may suggest: endosteal and subperiosteal implants. The one they recommend will depend on the condition of your jawbone and how soon it is after you’ve lost a tooth or multiple teeth.
An endosteal implant is the most common type. It screws into your jawbone and can hold one or more replacement teeth. This is best used while your jawbone is still strong enough a short time after tooth loss.
If your jaw has suffered bone loss, then you’ll need a subperiosteal implant. This implant goes under your gums and above your jawbone.
Those who do not have enough natural jawbone left to hold an endosteal implant may opt for a bone augmentation procedure. However, this involves multiple surgery sites and a longer recovery period.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
You may wonder what the difference is in terms of longevity for each type of dental implant.
The endosteal implant is the most secure option due to the fact that it’s anchored in your jawbone. This type can last the rest of your life as long as you take care of them properly. That means practicing good oral hygiene and avoiding any foods that might damage them.
Meanwhile, subperiosteal implants are not as secure. These will last you around 10 to 15 years. You’ll need to schedule regular visits with your dentist to make sure that it doesn’t loosen or come out entirely.
Insurance does cover them, but it will depend on your plan. You can also make use of things like a Lending Club and Medical Spending Accounts to pay for your implants.
If you want your dental implants to last as long as possible, you’ll need to treat them just as well as your other teeth. While they aren’t as susceptible to tooth problems as your pre-existing teeth, they can get stained or damaged through misuse.
The most important tip is to brush and floss your teeth twice daily. Brushing will keep them clean, and flossing can help make sure that your gums are kept healthy.
Using a mouth rinse can also help keep bacteria at bay as well as whiten your implants. This is especially important in the days and weeks following the implantation, as you want to avoid developing an infection.
Finally, visit your dentist regularly. That means going for routine cleaning as per usual as well as going for emergency visits if necessary. They may also require multiple checkups while your implants are first settling in.
Habits to Avoid
Watching what you eat isn’t just for those on a diet. It’s essential for your tooth health that you try to avoid difficult-to-chew items that could chip or break your tooth’s enamel.
Immediately after surgery, you should stay away from tough and chewy foods. The same applies to spicy or salty foods that could irritate your surgical site.
Even after your gums have healed, these foods should be avoided:
- Raw ice
Harder items like nuts or ice cubes can easily damage your implant if you’re not careful. Something like popcorn could get stuck in your implant or between your teeth. Sticky foods like caramel and taffy could potentially dislodge an older subperiosteal implant.
Another area of concern is bruxism. This is when you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth when you’re either awake or asleep.
With your normal teeth, bruxism can wear away at them and make them more vulnerable. If you grind with your dental implants, then that puts your healthy teeth at even greater risk.
Make Your Smile Into Perfection
How long do dental implants last? It all depends on the type available to you and how well you take care of them.
At best, you could spend the rest of your life with your new dental implants in tow. Even implants secured to your gums can last upwards of 15 years.
Skybridge Dental provides superior care for our patients in Lakeway, Texas. Our services include dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, and crown and bridge replacement services. Contact us today if you have any questions about your dental needs and to schedule a visit.