How long will my dental implants last? – Part 1

Let’s face it. Implant dentistry is not cheap. One could argue that dental implants are expensive compared with alternative tooth replacement methods. But what worthwhile investment is cheap?

Fortunately, patients now have more ways to pay for implant dentistry than what was possible in the past. For this reason, a better question may be, “How long should my dental implant investment last?”

Should dental implants last forever?

Whenever we make a meaningful purchase, we usually expect these types of investments to last a long time. But rarely do we expect them to last forever.

Today, major appliances — from trusted manufacturers — like washing machines and refrigerators will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more. These same products may last five to 10 years before they need to be repaired or replaced.

More specific to dentistry, a traditional three-unit bridge — for about the same cost of a dental implant — has an average life span of about 10 to 12 years. On average, dental implants can last far longer than 10 years.

In many cases, like natural teeth, dental implants may last you for the rest of your life when properly maintained. In fact, many people have had their dental implants for 30 years or more. This would be considered a great investment by even the highest of standards.

Keeping your dental implants for a lifetime requires good home care maintenance

While it is common for dental implants to function for decades, good maintenance has no substitute.

Keeping your dental implants healthy and fully functional over the course of several years — or decades — requires a maintenance plan, just like with natural teeth. A good maintenance plan begins with a vigorous daily oral hygiene regimen.

The need to brush and floss twice daily does not stop just because you now have dental implants. Failure to do so may cause the bone around your implants to become infected and your gums to be inflamed. If this happens to you, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist or Certified TeethXpress provider immediately.

Depending on the type of dental implant procedure you received, your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a certain type of toothbrush/toothpaste, water pick, dental floss and mouth rinse.

Some commonly used oral hygiene products for dental implants include Proxabrush® by GUM®, Superfloss® by Oral-B®, the Sonicare® electric toothbrush by Philips®, and the Water Flosser® by Waterpik®.

These and other products have been proven effective for helping individuals keep their dental implant teeth clean and healthy. Again, it's always best to consult a dental professional on home care products and techniques most suitable for your specific needs.

In Part 2 — on this subject of achieving longevity for your dental implants — we’ll address the significance of receiving routine professional maintenance through your dentist office. Also, is it possible that the engineering and design of a dental implant could factor into keeping your dental implants for a lifetime? We will address this topic in Part 2 of this article as well.