Implants and Bridges: Do They Last Forever?

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Dental implants and bridges are some of the best solutions for replacing missing teeth. While they are both long-term options, they won’t last forever. Everyday activities like eating and drinking put wear and tear on implants and bridges, necessitating adjustment or replacement. Let’s dive into specific details about the lifespan of each of these dental prosthesis.

Dental Implants

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, a properly-placed and well-cared for dental implant can last a lifetime. The International Congress of Implantologists estimates that a dental implant can last 40+ years if properly maintained. How old you are when you receive the implant can determine if it lasts a “lifetime.” If you receive a dental implant at 45, you are likely to have it for life. If you receive it at 25, you might need a replacement at some point. Few dentists would consider a dental implant for someone in their teenage years because it is important that the jaw and facial bones are completely done growing before having an implant placed. The jaw and facial bones typically finish growing between ages 17 and 21.

The process of receiving a dental implant is time-consuming and requires multiple office visits and lots of healing time. It’s not something you want to do again unless you have to!

To avoid this, take good care of your dental implant by consistently brushing and flossing. There are even special toothbrushes and flossers you can use to keep your implant site as clean and bacteria-free as possible.

Failure to remove plaque and bacteria from your dental implant site can lead to inflammation and infection around your implant called peri-implantitis. This condition can lead to implant failure if it is not diagnosed and treated. In mild cases, antibiotics can do the trick but for more serious cases, surgical repair may be necessary. Want to avoid all of it? We recommend good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups! Even if your implant is healthy and clean, it may need to be relined or tightened.

Dental Bridges

According to WebMD, dental bridges can last 5 to 15+ years. Good oral hygiene and regular checkups play a big role in your bridge’s longevity. The same advice applies to dental bridges as dental implants: brush twice daily, floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash. Invest in some dental threaders to get in those hard-to-reach areas.

Preventing further tooth decay and gum disease are key to keeping your dental bridge in tact. If one of the healthy supporting teeth decays, the entire bridge has to come off to fix that tooth, and then the bridge has to be repaired or replaced.

What is interesting is that the presence of a bridge on a healthy tooth can actually increase the risk of decay and gum disease for that tooth! All the more reason to be extra vigilant about good oral hygiene. Avoiding certain foods that are known to be bad for your teeth is also a good idea.

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