Dental implants are the healthiest tooth replacement option, they look and function like natural teeth, and they only require the same maintenance as your natural teeth. Just brush, floss, and make your regular dental visits. If you do that, your dental implants can last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, even though people invest a considerable amount of time and money in getting dental implants, they don’t always take care of that investment. A new study has identified that those people who should be taking the most care of their dental implants might be the least likely to be doing so.

closeup of a dental implant

Making Follow-Up Visits

To determine how likely people were to stop taking care of their dental implants, researchers in Osaka, Japan looked at the care records for nearly 700 people who received dental implants from January 2008 to December 2012. The key criterion is whether the patients continued to make their dental check-ups every six months. Of these patients, over 26%, 181, stopped making their follow-up visits. And, unfortunately, many of the people who stopped visiting the dentist belonged to higher-risk groups for dental implant failure.

According to this study’s data, men were 1.5 times more likely to stop coming to the dentist than women. gum disease, and without proper follow-up care, this can contribute to dental implant failure.

Another risk category that didn’t keep making dental visits is those who were performing poorer oral hygiene at home. Researchers measured oral hygiene using the Plaque Control Record (PCR), which shows the percentage of teeth surfaces that have plaque. Patients who had a PCR of 20% or more were more than twice as likely to stop making their dental visits. Poor plaque control contributes to both cavity and gum disease risk, both of which can threaten dental implants. (Although dental implants don’t get cavities, cavities on natural teeth serve as a refuge for oral bacteria, and can increase the risk of infection around the dental implant.)

But the group most likely to stop making their dental follow-up visits are young dental implant recipients. Patients age 29 or less when they received their dental implant were 6 times more likely to stop making follow-up visits than adults age 30-64.

When you are counting on your implant to last you 50 years or more, it’s vitally important that you get in the habit of taking proper care of it when you first receive it, or you are unlikely to see them last as long as you would like.

Protect Your Investment in Dental Implants

Dental implants are a great investment, partly because they can be so long-lived. But if you want your implants to last that long, you need to do your part and take care of them. That means brushing twice a day and flossing every day, especially remembering to floss properly and carefully around the dental implant. But it also means making your regular dental checkups.

At your dental checkups, we can remove tartar that serves as a shelter for oral bacteria. We can also recommend changes to your oral hygiene routine that can help protect your dental implant.

We can also help detect problems with your dental implant at an early stage so we can do something to preserve your implant, and identify dangers to your dental implants such as medications you are taking.

If you are looking for dental implants in the San Jose area, please call (408) 354-5600 for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos.