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How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

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Mature happy woman smiling and pointing at her new set of teeth with both hands.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

If you have missing or damaged teeth, dental implants might be a solution for you to pursue. Dental implants are designed to closely replicate the look and function of natural teeth. At Van Mills Dental, we offer effective and safe restorative dental procedures for many different types of issues involving missing or damaged teeth, including dental implant surgery.

Book an appointment with us to receive a consultation for dental implants — during this session, one of our knowledgeable dentists will be able to recognize if you are a good candidate for dental implants and suggest the best treatment option for your specific needs.

What Are Dental Implants? 

Dental implants are artificial roots, typically made of titanium metal, that are used to support replacement teeth. Dental implants are designed to help replace missing or damaged teeth.

During a dental implant procedure, one or more small metal posts will be surgically inserted beneath the gums into the jaw bone. After a period of time, once the implant is fused to the surrounding bone, the implant will act as an anchor to hold a new replacement tooth in place.

How To Know if You Are a Candidate For Dental Implants

If you are currently in good health, have healthy gums, and have enough bone in the jaw to sustain an implant, dental implants will be a great option for you to replace missing or damaged teeth. If your jawbone has shrunk or if it has not developed normally, you may have to undergo a bone graft to build up the necessary bone to hold an implant. 

The Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implants procedures are usually completed over two separate sessions, but in some cases, the first and second stages of surgery may be done together in one session. Typically, this is the process of a dental implant procedure:

  • Your dentist or specialist will carefully examine your mouth and take x-rays of your head, jaw, and teeth — this is done to discern if dental implants are a good option for you.
  • During the first stage of your surgery, a dental implant will be put into your jawbone beneath the gum tissue. After the implant has been inserted the gum tissue will be stitched back into place and you will have to wait for the second stage of surgery.
  • As your gum tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone and attach itself to the gum — this can take several months to heal.
  • During the second stage of surgery (once your gum tissue is healed), your dentist or specialist will attach an abutment to the implant.
  • An artificial replacement tooth will be made to certain specifications, then it will be attached to the abutment. It may take several different appointments to fit the replacement tooth to the abutment.
  • When replacing several teeth or all of your teeth, a fixed bridge is anchored to your dental implants. 
A young woman smiling and pointing at her perfect smile with her right hand while she holds a cross section model of na implanted tooth with her left hand.

Taking Care of Your Dental Implants

Since dental implants are secured in the jawbone, the artificial teeth that become attached to the implants replicate the look and function of natural teeth closely. Since they replicate natural teeth, they also need to be taken care of like natural teeth — brushing and flossing these replacement teeth is necessary for them to stay clean and still function properly. After your implant and new tooth have been properly fastened, your dentist or specialist will show you the proper way to take care of and clean your implants.

Dental implants are supposed to be permanent — in some cases, the crown attached to the artificial tooth may need to be replaced after 15 to 20 years. To ensure that your new implant and artificial tooth last longer (as well as your remaining natural teeth), you should:

  • Practice excellent oral hygiene — Keep your natural teeth, implants, artificial teeth, and gum tissue clean. There are specially designed brushes that can help clean the nooks and crannies around teeth, gums, and metal posts.
  • See your dentist regularly — Schedule dental checkups to ensure the health and effective functioning of your implants. You should always follow the advice garnered from professional cleanings.
  • Avoid damaging habits — Try to avoid chewing on hard items or food which can break your crowns, artificial teeth, or natural teeth. Stay away from tobacco and caffeine products, and seek treatment if you grind your teeth.

Can a Dental Implant Fall Out?

Most dental implant procedures are successful, but sometimes, the bone fails to fuse sufficiently to the metal implant — this can cause the implant to become loose or completely fall out. Continuing to smoke after your procedure, for example, may contribute to implant failure and complications. If the bone fails to fuse with the implant sufficiently, the implant should be removed by your dentist or specialist. Once the bone is cleaned up, you can try the procedure again in about three months after your implant is removed.

Some other complications that can lead to implant failures include:

  • Systemic infection — this may be more likely in patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Local infection in the bone and gums supporting the implant body.
  • Delayed healing — this may be more likely in patients who smoke.

Restoring Your Smile at Van Mills Dental

If you believe that you are a good candidate for dental implants, contact Van Mills Dental to receive a consultation. Once one of our dentists evaluates your current dental and general health, you will be cleared for the procedure and can book a date for your surgery. Restoring the function and look of your smile can make a huge difference to your quality of life. Lastly, if you’re looking to learn about more different restorative dentistry options, then have a read through our blog post titled What is The Difference Between Crowns, Bridges, Veneers, and Implants? for further information.

Written by Dr. B. Demarchi

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