If, like 178 million other Americans, you’re missing a tooth, you may have considered replacing the missing one with a dental implant. This tried and true procedure is an effective way to fill in a gap or two in your mouth, not only restoring your full, attractive smile, while providing support to neighboring teeth, stimulating the jawbone, and correcting the issues with speech or eating that a missing tooth could cause. Implants are durable, natural-looking, and best of all, they can last a lifetime if properly cared for. But how can you make sure you’re providing the care they need to last as long as you’d like?
Most dental implants will last for at least twenty years, and some have been known to last as long as fifty. And while dental implant failure is always a risk, studies indicate that a solid 60% of failures happen in the first year of implantation, which suggests that as long the implants are properly placed and heal right, the risk of failure significantly decreases.
If you want to keep your dental implants for life, here are a few general rules you can follow.
Keep Your Teeth Clean
This one may seem obvious, but it’s a major aspect of dental implant longevity: It’s extremely important to perform excellent, consistent oral hygiene at home, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Not only is brushing and flossing key to keeping your dental implants healthy, you also need to ensure that the rest of your mouth remains healthy. Overall oral health issues like gum disease can put dental implants at risk. Cavities in neighboring teeth can also host bacteria that threaten implants, so make sure you get them treated as they appear.
Kick the Tobacco Habit
Smoking and tobacco use may be the biggest threat to dental implants. While your dentist may simply recommend that you quit smoking before you get implants and wait until they’re healed to pick up the habit again, the best way to keep your implants healthy is to quit smoking entirely. (And considering that tobacco is bad for your oral health in a number of other ways, too, both your implants and your natural teeth will thank you for kicking the habit.)
Watch Your Bite
Bite problems can put undue stress on implants, potentially putting them at risk of failure. To avoid this, you should look for bad bite habits, like chewing on pens or your nails. And if you have bruxism (the habit of grinding or clenching teeth, which can happen during the day, or even at night while you’re asleep), a bite guard could help stop the pressure from causing wear and tear on both your implants and your real teeth.
And of course, choosing an experienced specialist for your dental implants can make a huge difference in their success rate. If you’re looking for the right dentist for your dental implants, call (619) 299-5925 or contact us online to set up an appointment.