Over 15 million Americans are estimated to be missing at least one tooth. If you've lost one or more teeth, dental implants are an excellent option for restoring your smile. Dental implants can serve as an option for replacing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or even an entire row of teeth. But how long do they last?
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a long-term solution for tooth replacement. The implant itself is a screw-shaped fixture surgically placed into the jawbone beneath the gums. An artificial tooth is later attached to the implant.
Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth or many teeth, depending on your needs and your dentist's recommendations. They can also be used to hold dentures in place.
Dental implants look and function like natural teeth and are widely considered the best and longest-lasting treatment option for people who've suffered tooth loss.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are most often made of titanium or zirconia. They're surgically placed into your jawbone, where they fuse with the bone and act as a strong anchor for artificial teeth or replacement crowns.
Dental implants involve two procedures: the surgical placement of the implant and the attachment of the artificial tooth.
The first procedure, placement of the implant, is typically performed using local anesthesia during an office visit. The second procedure is done after healing has occurred and the implant has been integrated into the jawbone.
Advantages of Dental Implants Over Other Restorations
Dental implants are considered the most durable, long-lasting treatment for replacing missing teeth.
Unlike dentures, which fit over the gum tissue, dental implants allow you to chew more naturally and can last a lifetime if cared for properly. Dental implants also improve your overall oral health because they help keep your remaining teeth from shifting out of place or becoming loose from lack of support from neighboring healthy teeth.
Types of Dental Implant Procedures
These are the most common types of dental implant procedures:
- Single-tooth implant. This is the most common type of dental implant. It's used to replace one missing tooth.
- Multiple-tooth implant. This type of implant is used to replace multiple missing teeth in one or more areas of the mouth.
- Implant-supported denture or bridge. This type of implant is used to stabilize and support a bridge or denture.
- All-on-4. This procedure uses four (sometimes more) implants to support an entire arch of teeth in the upper or lower jaw.
The Lifespan of Dental Implants
Dental implants have an average lifespan of 10 to 20 years. However, in many cases, they can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
Extending the Longevity of Your Dental Implants
Here are some ways to extend the longevity of your dental implants:
- Brush, floss, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash daily.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes calcium and vitamin D.
- See your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
Dental Implants at Oak Road Dentistry
With proper care, dental implants can be a permanent solution to missing teeth. Find a dentist you trust, ask questions, and make sure you're well informed as you make your choice.