How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental Implants, the gold standard in tooth replacement options

There’s little doubt that dental implants deserve their growing popularity as an effective and easy-care option for replacing missing teeth. They are so natural-appearing that you may forget you didn’t grow them yourself.

Because implants are safely secured in your jaw, you won’t experience the slipping and sliding often common with dentures. You won’t have to remove them every night for soaking, and their titanium “root” helps keep your jaw healthy and strong.

But just how long can dental implants last? Ramesh K. Sunar, DMD, is a top-rated dental implant specialist with a thriving practice — Charlotte Dental Implant Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Sunar considers dental implants the most durable and long-lasting tooth replacement option available, and he notes that they can even last a lifetime.

There is a “but,” however. You must give your implants the right care to get a lifetime of use. And what’s above your gums may not be as “forever” as the root. Still, the 15-year average for implant crowns is better than you expect with dentures.

The three parts of a dental implant and their durability

Part of the confusion regarding the life expectancy of dental implants often centers around the term “implant.” The implant portion of your replacement tooth or teeth is a titanium screw that is surgically implanted into your jaw.

The small screw-like implant acts as a root to which the porcelain crown you see above the gumline is attached. Between the porcelain crown and the implant, a small fixture called an abutment secures the porcelain crown to the titanium root.

Because it fuses securely with your jaw, much like your natural roots, the implant portion of your new tooth or teeth can last a lifetime.

The abutment and crown portions of a dental implant are also quite durable. Just like your natural teeth, however, a crown can crack or fracture due to a blow sustained in an accident. Biting too aggressively on something very hard, such as a hidden shell in a handful of nuts, can also damage a natural tooth or a crown. And, just like your natural teeth, crowns can begin to wear after years of chewing all of your favorite foods.

Fortunately, dental implants are designed so that damaged crowns and abutments can be replaced without removing the implanted titanium screw. In most cases, Dr. Sunar can simply refashion a new crown to affix to the implant.

The right care for your dental implants

You can greatly increase the longevity of your dental implants if you treat them as you would natural teeth. You won’t have to worry about tooth decay affecting your crowns, but twice-daily brushing and flossing are necessary to prevent the same dull buildup that can affect natural teeth.

Also, your titanium roots depend on healthy gums to keep out the bone-decaying bacteria that can loosen the implant in your jaw. In the same way that advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, can lead to tooth loss, it can eventually result in the loss of a dental implant.

One of the best ways to care for your new implants and protect your investment is to visit your dentist regularly for exams and other routine care. Dr. Sunar can spot early warning signs of gum disease or note abnormal wear on a crown that could indicate a problem with excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching, a condition known as bruxism. These problems and other issues that can affect your oral health are much easier to treat when caught early.

For more information about dental implants and to learn whether you’re a good candidate, schedule a visit with Dr. Sunar at Charlotte Dental Implant Center. Call the office, or request an appointment online.

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