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How Long Will My Dental Implants Last?
While there may be some slight variation in the life expectancy of dental implants, most can last for many years with proper maintenance. Here are some specifics on how long to expect implants to last and steps to take that can prevent premature damage.
Life expectancy range
Because a single implant can be easier to clean around than a full set of dentures, it allows for better oral hygiene. This can help an implant to last longer. However, both single implants and full sets should last at least 15 years.
Parts of the implant, the crown and the abutment (the piece that attaches the crown to the implanted post), remain above the gum line. This makes them more vulnerable to damage and decay. The life expectancy of these components is at least 15 years. When the crown is made from porcelain rather than ceramic, they typically last at least 20 years.
Dental implants involve a post, typically made from titanium, that is inserted surgically into the jawbone. Because the post is entirely encased by the jawbone, it should last at least 25 years and can last a lifetime. The only major variable that can affect this piece of the implant is the health and deterioration of the jawbone. A patient who incurs significant bone loss after the insertion of an implant should not expect the implant to last as long.
Variables to consider
The life expectancy for any given patient's implants varies based on several factors, many of which can be controlled by the patient.
Daily brushing and flossing as well as visiting a dental professional every six months help keep plaque and tartar from building up. Good hygiene practices also allow any deterioration to be caught early so minor repairs can be made if necessary.
Skill of the dental professional
The more experienced and well-trained the dental professional is who does the implant, the longer it is likely to last. A skilled professional can better understand whether the jawbone is strong enough to support an implant, where exactly to place the implant and how to evaluate the healing process of the jawbone.
While implants are durable, chewing on food that is hard or sticky on a regular basis can cause them to deteriorate prematurely. Using the teeth for anything besides chewing food, such as opening a bottle, can also cause unnecessary damage.
Someone who smokes or drinks is at a higher risk for implant failure than someone who does not. Proper diet, normal blood pressure and the absence of chronic illness or disease are also good indicators that the implants will last longer.
Due to the more intense pressure put on the back teeth when chewing, implants in the back of the mouth will tend to wear down faster than those in the front. A single implant in the front can last years longer than one towards the back.
Although the exact lifespan of dental implants will be different for each patient, they should last around 25 years under the right circumstances. Making wise lifestyle choices can help ensure crowns or dentures last as long as possible.
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