Dental Implants are a popular treatment for many patients looking to replace missing or damaged teeth. Dental implants are a permanent solution that can last a lifetime if they are well treated and maintained with good oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle choices. The implant is placed into or onto your jawbone, depending on the type of dental implant you and your dentist opt for, serving as an artificial root for a crown that is made to blend extremely well with your natural teeth.
Although the implant is designed as a permanent fixture and can last a very long time, you may need to replace your crown in 15 to 20 years due to general wear and tear. The four key elements that can impact the lifespan of your dental implant are lifestyle, oral hygiene, injuries or damages and any preexisting medical conditions. It is highly recommended to maintain proper oral hygiene and care with regular dentist appointments to avoid reducing its lifespan further and provide longevity.
Your lifestyle choices such as excessive drinking and smoking can greatly impact the lifespan of your dental implant. In the early stages of healing, it is essential that you avoid these substances for at least 72 hours, or 3 full days to ensure maximum recovery after your treatment.
To begin with, you run the risk of slow prolonged recovery when nicotine substances enter your bloodstream in the initial stages of your healing as you may affect your oxygen levels and overall blood flow. This can cause an infection to the gum and treatment area which may be quite painful and even require medical attention. Smoking can also lead to a build up from plaque in your teeth which can cause bacterial infections of the gum resulting in gum disease over time.
Much like smoking, alcohol can cause severe issues during the healing stage as your body is rebuilding tissue, bone cells and blood vessels. This is because alcohol is a natural blood thinner which can disrupt the blood clotting process of the gum after surgery. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can cause dehydration which can cause the tissue and blood to “dry out” and essentially, prolong the healing process.
Keeping up with your oral hygiene is especially important after your implant is fitted. This is because, although titanium and ceramics crowns are resistant to decay, your surrounding teeth and gums are not, where you should do your best to avoid any infection or disease.
As gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss, you should clean your dental implant just as you would your natural teeth. This means brushing twice a day and using floss or an interdental brush to approach the hard to reach areas of your gums and teeth to keep them clean and avoid buildup of plaque. Should you have existing gum disease, the implant may not fuse well with the gum and could even be rejected or fall out. To avoid this, impeccable oral hygiene is required before going ahead with the procedure and your dentist can help to get you on the right path.
Injuries / Damage
Although the ceramic crown can be stronger than your natural tooth, they can still acquire damage through injury and even the foods you consume in your diet. It is best to avoid triggering any trauma of the implant area by eating foods that do not require additional pressure such as hard candy or ice. You should also avoid using your teeth as a tool for opening bottle caps as this can severely damage the crown.
Your teeth should only be used for eating and chewing to avoid any injury or damage to the implants. Your dentist may be able to fix a damaged crown; but you would want to avoid any injury to your gum where the dental implant has been infused else you could experience further trauma.
Unfortunately, there are certain pre-existing conditions that can affect how long your dental implant will last. Conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system can cause the implant to be rejected, slow down the speed of your recovery time and the implant’s overall lifespan before it needs to be replaced.
The fusing of the implant into the bone, also known as osseointegration, is integral to the lifespan of your dental implant. Allowing your gums to heal properly and completely will ensure the longevity of your treatment.
Before undergoing any dental implant procedure, it is important to disclose any medical conditions you may have so they are able to advise the best solution for you.
You should also note that the lifespan of your dental implant will depend on which teeth in your mouth have been replaced as each tooth serves its own purpose of speaking, eating, biting and chewing. With habits such as grinding teeth or excessively clenching your jaw, you may find a disruption in your recovery or even rejection of the implant with the added pressure applied.
Maintaining Your Dental Implants
You should care for your implant in the same regard you would your natural teeth by attending regular dental appointments at your dental surgery and practicing correct oral hygiene enjoy lifelong healthy teeth. By maintaining proper care for your teeth with consistent oral hygiene routines of brushing twice daily and flossing, you will keep your gums healthy and reduce plaque buildup which will in turn, avoid gum disease and further damage to your implant or surrounding teeth and gums.
Looking after your dental implant attentively will provide a positive impact on its lifespan and overall condition for a very long time. You should look to avoid applying unnecessary added pressure onto your dental implants by jaw clenching, teeth grinding and using it as a tool to open items such as bottles.
If you are considering a dental implant to replace any missing or damaged teeth, our team is here to help you through the process from start to finish.
Give us a call today to book a consultation with one of our professionals where we can discuss the best options for you!