Dental implants do not always last a lifetime, but they certainly can. The good news is that the lifespan of your implants is largely under your control. Take great care of your implants, and of your teeth and mouth in general, and you will not soon need to part with these prosthetic teeth. The following are some tips to help you do just that.
1. Do not smoke.
Smoking is never healthy, but it's even worse when you are someone with implants. The tobacco smoke can weaken your gum tissues, making you more susceptible to infections, which could put your implants at risk. Exposure to smoke could also increase your risk of cancer in the jaw bone, which would render your implants unstable and non-viable. Say to to all forms of tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes, and chew.
2. Brush your teeth.
Your implants are not real teeth, so they don't need to be protected against cavities. However, you do still need to keep them clean, because if you do not, oral bacteria will proliferate in your mouth. An abundance of oral bacteria leads to gum disease, which can cause your implants to fail. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes, regardless of how many of your teeth are real.
3. Avoid overly hard foods.
You can eat almost anything with implants that you would eat with natural teeth. But you should avoid overly crunchy foods like ice chips and crunching on hard candy. Honestly, it's best not to crunch on foods like these with real teeth, either. With implants, foods that are too hard can put excess strain on the jaw bone, which increases the risk of implant failure — even if the implant itself does not crack from the chewing.
4. Watch out for dry mouth.
As people grow older, their saliva production often decreases. Sometimes this is due to a natural decrease in function of the salivary glands. Other times, it is a side effect of medications, such as antidepressants. In either case, dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease, which can increase the risk of implant failure. So if you think your mouth feels dry, let your dentist know so they can prescribe an appropriate mouthwash or medication.
If you follow the advice above, there is no reason why your dental implants should not last. Talk to your dentist for more tips and advice.