Restoring lost or damaged teeth is about more than just cosmetics. While bringing your smile back to life can be an excellent way to build confidence, it's far from the only reason you should want to fix those gaps in your teeth. Missing teeth can lead to numerous health problems, create unnecessary pain, and make everyday activities such as enjoying food far more unpleasant.
While several solutions can address missing teeth, dental implants are a popular choice for many reasons. However, many patients wonder about their longevity and whether a dental implant is a permanent replacement. Understanding the answers to these questions can help you better prepare and decide if dental implants are right for you.
Will Your Implants Be Permanent?
Dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution. In other words, you don't remove your implants to clean or otherwise maintain. However, this design doesn't mean a dental implant will last forever. While dental implants are probably one of the most durable and long-lasting options you can choose for a missing tooth, they can still fail over time.
In many ways, you can think of implants as similar to your natural teeth. Your teeth can last for many years, or maybe even your entire life, but neglecting your oral health can lead to numerous problems and tooth loss. Likewise, your implants will last longer with good oral hygiene, routine oral health visits, and good habits overall, such as abstaining from smoking.
How Long Will Your Implants Last?
While it's clear that implants are vulnerable to the same oral hygiene risks as your natural teeth, the situation is a little more complicated in reality. An implant isn't a single piece but consists of three separate components. The most durable of these components is the implant itself — the post or screw your dentist will attach to your bone.
The part of the tooth you use is known as the crown, and it attaches to an abutment that screws directly into the implant. The abutment and the crown are more likely to wear down and fail over time, potentially requiring replacement. Poor hygiene may also accelerate their failure. Fortunately, these items are much easier for a dentist to replace than the actual implant post.
Ultimately, there's no set lifespan for a dental implant. The surgically attached implant post should only fail in unusual situations or as a result of particularly poor care. The crown may eventually fail (although only after many years), but replacing it is a cheaper and easier procedure. While they can fail due to poor care, dental implants still offer the best and longest-lasting tooth replacement option.