Dental implants are a lifeline for people living with missing or severely damaged teeth. They look and feel just like natural teeth, and they protect your remaining teeth and jaw from becoming weak or infected.
Because dental implants are such a successful dental intervention, they’ve grown in popularity. The rate at which dentists prescribe them jumped from 0.7% in 1999-2000 to 5.7% in 2015-2016.
Although implants are more common today than ever before, there are a few misconceptions surrounding implants. Are dental implants permanent? How long do teeth implants last?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Dental Implant?
Before we dive in, let’s talk about what a dental implant is.
Dental implants are a prosthetic dental replacement. The implant is the titanium screw implanted in the jaw to replace the roots of the missing tooth.
To function successfully, dental implants need to fuse with your jaw bone. If they don’t, they could cause damage to the bone.
The porcelain tooth is called the crown. It’s the part of the implant you see, but it’s a different piece from the implant.
As a result, they can have different lifespans.
Are Dental Implants Permanent?
Dental implants aren’t permanent, but they are a long-term solution to missing and damaged teeth.
The implant in your jaw can and should last for 20 years provided you care for it.
However, the crown may not last as long. Crowns can last 10 to 15 years before they require replacements. Crowns are typically made of porcelain, and they can be a victim of both your lifestyle and general wear and tear – just like your own teeth.
Because dental implants aren’t permanent, dentists only recommend them for people who don’t have viable natural teeth. It’s far better to protect your current teeth than to replace them unnecessarily.
How Do You Protect Your Dental Implants?
To make the most of your implants, it’s important to take steps to avoid damaging them.
The good news is that most of what you need to do to protect your implants lies in basic oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and using interdental brushes will prevent decay and infections.
You also need to do your best to prevent trauma. Usually, that means:
wearing a mouthguard when you play sports
using a mouth protector to prevent teeth grinding at night
avoiding hard foods and chewing ice
not using your teeth to open packages or bottles
If you can do that, then you will extend the life of your dental implants and keep your new smile brighter for longer.
Dental Implants are the Most Permanent Tooth Replacement
Are dental implants permanent? Nothing lasts forever, not even your own teeth.
Even still, dental implants represent the most permanent type of tooth replacement available, as the implant itself should be good for 20 years. If you take good care of them by brushing, flossing, and chewing carefully, you’ll protect your investment for longer.
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