Medically Reviewed By Dr. Tina Beck

When considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, it is natural to wonder about their lifespan. How long do dental implants last? Generally, they can last over 25 years with proper care. Understanding the factors that affect their longevity can help you make an informed decision.

Getting to Know Dental Implants

Dental implants have transformed the way we look at tooth replacement options. Essentially, a dental implant is a bio-compatible titanium fixture that fuses with the jawbone, creating a solid foundation for a dental prosthetic.

Anatomy of a Dental Implant

Curious about what makes up a dental implant? Let’s break it down into its key components:

  • Implant Body or Fixture: The titanium part that fuses with the jawbone, beneath the gums.
  • Abutment: The abutment passes through the gums and serves as a connector between the implant body and the prosthetic tooth.  Abutments are usually custom-made to perfectly fit the restoration (tooth). 
  • Crown or Prosthetic Tooth: Usually crafted from porcelain, ceramic, or zirconia, this is the visible element that looks just like a natural tooth.

How a Clean Mouth Affects Implant Life

Let’s clarify that keeping your dental implants clean is as vital as caring for your natural teeth. Failing to do so can lead to peri-implantitis, similar to gum disease but affecting the tissue surrounding the implant. Good oral hygiene contributes to the longevity of dental implants and overall oral health and well-being. It is critical to keep the gums as healthy as possible in order to protect the bone that supports the implant. Once bone loss begins, it can be difficult or impossible to correct, and the implant may need to be removed.

How to Make Your Dental Implants Last Longer

While dental implants are a reliable and long-lasting solution for missing teeth, their lifespan isn’t solely determined by their inherent durability. Various external factors, from oral hygiene practices to lifestyle choices, significantly affect how long your dental implants last.

Caring for Your Mouth

  • Regular Cleaning: The longevity of your dental implant significantly depends on how well you keep it clean. Like natural teeth, good oral hygiene can prevent diseases around the implant.
  • Consistent Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to the dentist, particularly with Dr. Tina Beck, can catch issues before they escalate, thereby prolonging the life of your implant.

Medical Conditions That Affect Implant Longevity

Certain systemic conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, can indirectly impact the longevity of your dental implants. These conditions affect bone density and gum health, which are vital to the stability of your implant. Effective management of these medical conditions can, therefore, contribute positively to the lifespan of your dental implant.

Lifestyle Choices and Implant Longevity

Your daily habits can also significantly affect how long your dental implant lasts.

  • Smoking: Smoking negatively influences gum health and interferes with implant integration during initial healing. Over the long term, smoking weakens the bone and increases risk of bone damage. 
  • Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol can irritate and weaken gum tissue around the implant.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Dental Implants

Your active involvement in taking care of your dental implants can significantly extend their lifespan and, at the same time, improve your overall oral health.

Practicing Routine Dental Care

  • Regular Brushing: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended.
  • Flossing: Don’t neglect flossing, as it’s critical for maintaining gum health around the implant.  Often times, strong-like floss is needed to properly clean beneath the restoration, deep under the gums. Most disposable flossers are ineffective at removing plaque under the gums.
  • Interdental Brushes: These are handy for cleaning areas that are hard to reach or trap food.

Adopting Daily Oral Care Habits

  • Antimicrobial Mouthwash: Helps minimize bacterial buildup and infection risk.
  • Regular Dental Exams: Scheduling consistent check-ups with Dr. Beck can offer opportunities for professional cleanings and early detection of potential issues.

Preventing Implant Failures

Your conscious effort in following recommended practices can secure your dental implant for years.

Oral Hygiene Essentials

  • Choose an Alcohol-free Mouthwash: This will help avoid drying out oral tissues.
  • Clean Your Tongue: A simple yet often overlooked step that reduces bacterial load.
  • Avoid Hard Foods: Chewing on hard items like ice can damage the implant crown.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Understanding the various factors contributing to how long your dental implants last equips you with the power to make an informed decision. While some aspects are beyond your control, your ongoing care and regular check-ins with Dr. Beck can significantly boost the longevity of your implants. If you’re curious about making implants a part of your life, we encourage you to learn more about dental implants with Southern California Periodontics and Implantology. Take the next step toward a healthier, fuller smile today.