Of all the many miraculous innovations in dentistry that have occurred in the past few decades, dental implants are indeed the most revolutionary. For the first time in history, a dentist can actually replace a missing tooth with something that not only looks and feels like a real tooth but actually restores the entire tooth. And dental implants are strong, often stronger than the teeth they replace. But do dental implants last forever? Let’s find out:
Dental Implants Are Very Popular
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 3 million people in the United States have implants, a number that is growing by 500,000 annually. With a reported surgical success rate as high as 98%, it’s no wonder implant dentistry is part of the mainstream delivery of dental care. And when compared to traditional solutions for missing teeth such as crowns, bridges, and dentures, dental implants have a much lower failure rate.
With all the positive reasons to choose implants over traditional teeth replacement procedures, no dentist can say that dental implants last forever. We simply don’t yet have results from long-term studies to be able to make that claim. (And besides, how do you measure forever anyway?)
5 Ways To Make Your Dental Implants Last As Long As Possible
While no one can promise that your dental implants will last forever (if you’ve heard that from a dental professional – run the other way!), barring unforeseen complications such as a change in your health or physical trauma and injury, you can reasonably expect your dental implants to last about 25 years. That’s a long time!
No dental implants last forever, but if you take care of them, they will last a very, very long time. But there are some things you can do to make your dental implants last as long as possible and look great as long as possible, too:
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Treat your implants the way you treat your natural teeth, but go even further to keep them clean and healthy. I recommend purchasing an interdental toothbrush. Interdental toothbrushes are designed to slide easily between your teeth, making it easier to keep the nooks and crannies free of debris and plaque.
- Don’t Skip Your Check-Ups
Make sure to visit your dentist who can monitor your implants and your natural dentition at least twice a year. Your dentist will be able to detect if trouble’s on the way.
- Be Careful What You Chomp On
Even your natural teeth can be damaged if you bite down too hard on a substance such as sucking candy, ice, or a wayward olive pit (wayward olive pits are the cause of many emergency visits to my office). So be careful what you chomp on. Oh, and do not use your teeth tools to open packages!
- Avoid Foods & Beverages That Stain
No dental implants last forever, but 25 years is a long time. So you take a little extra care to ensure they keep looking great. Try to limit caffeine, red wine, and other dark-colored drinks. And, stay away from tobacco which will stain your implants (and your natural teeth) along with its other risks
- Notice If You’re Grinding & Clenching
Bruxism, the clinical term for teeth grinding and clenching, is a big problem for millions of people. Often caused by stress, cases have skyrocketed since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Bruxism can wreak havoc on implants. They are strong, yes, but the forces of your jaws are much stronger. If you’re waking up with headaches or jaw pain, noticing that your teeth are looking shorter, or chewing your nails or cuticles more than ever, see your dentist immediately, even if you don’t have implants.
The Bottom Line
No one can promise dental implants last forever, but with proper care and maintenance, you will be able to enjoy them for a very, very, very long time!
Questions about dental implants? Feel free to call us for a consultation at 212-685-3040
More information about dental implants:
- 4 Signs of Dental Implant Failure
- All-On-Four Dental Implants Explained
- How Much Do Dental Implants Cost In NYC?