When dental implants are well taken care of, they can last for years, even decades. However, it's all dependent upon how good your oral health is and how you treat your new implants. Here are three easy tips to improve your chances of keeping your dental implants for even longer than average.
Dental implants are secured in your mouth just like real teeth - with a stem under the tooth that goes into your gums. For a tooth, this is its root; for a dental implant, it's the implant it takes its name from.
When your gums become unhealthy, dental implants can lose some of their support. Healthy gums are snug around teeth and dental implants, and help to keep bad bacteria out, too. When you develop gum disease - especially the more severe periodontitis type - your gums will swell and eventually recede. The swelling can limit circulation around your dental implant, and the eventual receding will mean that the implant loses the majority of its support.
If you've had gum disease before, make sure to do everything you've been taught by your dentist to keep it at bay. Maintain your regular appointment schedule and keep flossing at home to avoid gum disease.
Avoid Bad Behaviors
Dental implants are as resilient and tough as real teeth, but unfortunately, there are some bad habits that can even harm real teeth.
If you bite your nails or grind your teeth, you should work hard to stop those behaviors right away. Repeated pressure that's focused on the implant can potentially damage the crown or push the implant out of alignment if it goes on for long enough. This is more likely to happen when you grind your teeth in your sleep, as it's a behavior that may happen on a nightly basis for you.
To help with this, you can use a grinding protector that encapsulates all your teeth and prevents them from being harmed if you clench or grind your teeth. When it comes to giving up biting your nails, it's all about willpower. Remind yourself that you could be severely damaging your teeth and dental implant when you have the urge to bite, and you'll be more successful in quitting.
Keeping All Your Teeth
Finally, make sure to do everything you can to maintain the health of your surrounding teeth. When teeth are lost, they no longer provide pressure to the jaw bone. If the jaw bone loses enough pressure points, it can become thinner and weaker. At this point, it doesn't do as good a job supporting your remaining teeth and dental implant(s), and can cause a cascading failure of the loss of multiple teeth and implants.
The good news is all you have to do to prevent this is to ensure that any missing teeth are immediately replaced with implants, and keep your existing teeth healthy by performing good oral hygiene care.
Dental implants are extremely long lasting, especially if you treat them well. Follow these tips and you should expect your implants to last so long that you nearly forget you have them.