Dental implants are one of the few dental restorations that you can count on to last forever. It’s not 100%, but studies show that over 90% of dental implants last for decades and may last upwards of 50 years.
The same cannot be said about the restorations placed on dental implants, however. Dental crowns and bridges placed on implants are unlikely to last as long as the implants they cover.
But how do you know when to replace these restorations? Here are some reasons why you might need to replace the dental crown, bridge, or denture.
Understanding the Anatomy of Dental Implants
People often use “dental implant” to refer to the full tooth replacement prosthetic. However, the prosthetic in this case includes multiple parts. First, there is an artificial tooth root. This tooth root screws into the jawbone, ultimately bonding with the bone. It’s usually made of titanium, but some are made of ceramic. It’s not normally visible, as it doesn’t extend above the gum line. Strictly speaking, only this part is the dental implant. This is the part that can last forever with proper design, placement, and care.
Another part of the tooth replacement is what we call the restoration. This replaces the visible part of the tooth. For replacing one tooth, your Savannah implant dentist will use a dental crown. For replacing two or more teeth, we use a dental bridge. For replacing up to your entire arch, we will use an implant denture.
Typically, but not always, there is a third piece that connects these two other pieces, what is known as an abutment.
When to Replace Implant Restorations
For the most part, after you get dental implants, you will enjoy uninterrupted years of function after getting dental implants. However, there are a few signs that should cause you to talk to a Savannah implant dentist about crown replacement.
High quality dental crowns are very stain resistant. However, older crowns and lower quality crowns may begin to show their age in time. If you’ve had your dental implant or implants for decades, you may no longer be happy with the appearance of the dental restorations.
Sometimes, this might be related to using an abrasive toothbrush, which can cause damage to teeth as well as crowns (although the crown damage might be more visible).
Sometimes, though, you might have the opposite problem: your natural teeth have become discolored and your crown, which is stain resistant, no longer matches.
Modern dental crowns are made from very strong ceramics. These should be able to resist chipping if they’ve been placed properly and you don’t have bite problems like TMJ.
But some people do experience chipped crowns. We can replace damaged crowns with stronger alternatives and check to make sure that your dental implant and crown are properly fitted to avoid excessive bite force on the restorations. At the same time we can check for bite problems that aren’t (yet) affecting your implant, but may be contributing to symptoms like jaw pain and headaches. That way, we can ensure that your entire bite is healthy.
Modern dental crowns are highly resistant to wear, but that’s not always true for some materials used in partial or full implant dentures. Some older materials used in these restorations (especially acrylic) can wear down with use over time.
This may also be true of older dental crowns. Sometimes these were made with a plastic material that could get worn down.
Opposing Tooth Damage
Sometimes, it’s not the restorations themselves that show problems, but the teeth that oppose them. When dental implants are made of very strong material, but are fitted poorly or without regard for your natural bite, they can cause damage to your natural teeth.
If teeth opposing your dental implants have experienced damage, it may be time to replace your current restorations with ones that fit better and support the healthy function of your jaws.
Looking for New Restorations
Dental implants can last a very long time, even, potentially, a lifetime. But the restorations on top of them are not always so long-lived. If you need or want new restorations for your dental implants in Savannah, we can help. Please call (912) 234-8282 today for an appointment with an implant dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.