Dental implants are widely accepted way of replacing a missing tooth or teeth. It is done by your dentist who ‘implants’ them into your jawbone, where they provide a replacement for the root of your missing tooth or teeth. They then act as the root to support crowns or dentures that replace the teeth.
There are several factors determining how long an implant will last. First of all, whether it lasts forever depends on how well the implant and the prosthetic part (the tooth substitute itself, that you can see – the crown, bridge or prosthesis) has been inserted. However, proper oral hygiene is important too. If all conditions are fulfilled, implants usually last longer than natural teeth.
Oral hygiene always comes first
For your implant to last for as long as possible, we recommend you visit your dentist/dental hygienist at least twice a year. Your teeth and oral cavity will be cleaned, which is important, because insufficient hygiene is one of the major causes of implant loss. Bacteria gathers around the implant if you neglect your oral hygiene and this may cause inflammation. If left untreated, this may lead to periimplantitis, an illness which causes bone loss around the implant, further resulting in it losing firmness and may go as far as the implant being detached from the bone bed. Once you’ve had your implant inserted successfully, it is therefore important that you arrange regular check-ups with your dentist to help you identify and effectively cure any starting inflammation.
If you’re a smoker, you may want to think twice, as smoking too much may lead to you losing the implant. Inhaling the smoke often leads to gum diseases and healthy gums are very important for the implant and its durablity. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an implant as a smoker, but it may make the procedure and the healing process more complicated.
So how long is it realistically going to last?
Several studies have shown that even after ten years, most implants are still as good as new. If they are looked after properly and if you have a healthy lifestyle, they can easily last a lifetime. However, proper implantation and regular check-ups are just as important.