How long do implant supported dentures last?
The longevity of implant-supported dentures is affected by a few different things, the foremost of which is the patient and their behaviors. With the proper care, implant-supported dentures placed by a reputable dentist can last many years – possibly even a lifetime. Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, which means the treatment is invasive and takes time. Using medical-grade materials and innovative techniques, implant-supported dentures also cost money. It might seem appealing to look for less expensive options, or options that don’t require surgery, but these options are rarely comfortable or attractive, causing problems with eating and speaking and interfering with everyday activity. Dental implants are also unique in providing the additional benefit of strengthening the jawbone with their mere existence. Without a tooth root or an implant present, the bone in the area is reabsorbed into the body for use elsewhere, leaving a sunken area in the jaw that creates a sagging, prematurely aging appearance. With an implant, this effect is halted, and the implant encourages the sustained growth of healthy bone.
With so many benefits, you’ll want to keep your implant-supported dentures healthy and strong for as long as possible, so make sure to adhere to all your dentist’s recommendations for preliminary procedures, effective healing, and maintaining your overall health and your oral health before, during, and after your dental implants are placed. If you do, your implants could last twenty years or more. Because implant-supported dentures are permanently affixed to the implants in your jaw, they can only be removed by your dentist. This means that you’ll clean your implant-supported dentures the same way you’d clean your natural teeth, using a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush the teeth in a circular motion, focusing on the gumline and making sure to remove any food debris that might be trapped by the denture. Even if you have a full row of replacement teeth, you still need to brush them to make sure bacteria doesn’t build up in the oral cavity and cause gum disease and to keep them clean and attractive. If you have an implant-supported bridge, brush the bridge along with your natural teeth and make sure to clean between your natural teeth, too.
Regular dental visits are also an integral part of ensuring the long life of your dental implants. Routine visits are the best line of defense against gum disease, which is often asymptomatic in its earlier stages when it’s still easy to treat. If gum disease goes undetected and is allowed to progress, it can lead to dental implant failure. Your dental team will also clean your implant-supported denture thoroughly and expertly, using specialized tools to clean around the apparatus and to meticulously clean the teeth without damaging their ceramic surfaces. A healthy diet is also a key part of maintaining implant-supported dentures over the long term, both because balanced nutrients support the health of the body’s tissues, like teeth and bone, and because chewing crunchy, fibrous foods like vegetables and nuts helps exercise the jawbone and the muscles that support it, working to keep the implants firmly in place. Of course, chewing foods that are too hard, or chewing pens or other non-food objects, can damage your denture just as it would your natural teeth, and smoking and other habits are particularly destructive to dental implants, so work with your dentist and primary care provider to modify destructive behaviors if you have them, and know that every choice will affect your return on investment.