If you have dental implants, they generally stay with you for life. They are firmly rooted to your jaw bone with special screws. That said, you may be wondering what happens to dental implants after you have passed away. There are also some things you can do with your implants after you have passed on. You can make these arrangements for your implants prior to your passing.
What Happens to Your Implants after Death
Your implants stay in your mouth long after you have died. Decades after your death, the screws may become a little loose and allow the implants to wiggle in your skeletal remains. Because the flesh of your gums only helps hold the implants in place, after the gum tissue is gone the implants may be a little looser but they will still hold fast.
What You Can Choose to Do with Your Implants after Your Death
You could be buried with your implants still in your mouth, but if you are going to be cremated the implants will need to be removed. They cannot be destroyed in a crematorium.
If you arrange to have your implants removed after your death, here is what may become of the implants:
- They are given to your next of kin, if your spouse or children would like to hold onto them (a grisly option to be sure, but your spouse may find the implant teeth comforting).
- They can be returned to your dentist for recycling. The dentist can recycle the metal and the screws to create new implants for someone else, while the porcelain crowns of the implants are discarded.
- Donate them to science—forensic science that is. Your donated implants can help forensic scientists establish patterns of bite marks based on your fake teeth, and also establish design and sculpt patterns of teeth that directly link the dentist or manufacturer to these designs and patterns. Even though dentists and dental implant manufacturers try to give your implants very unique bite surfaces, many of the teeth they create exhibit repeat patterns. Studying these designs and patterns helps in other investigations.
There may be some other options available to you that are not listed here. If you do not want to or cannot be buried, cremated, or entombed with your dental implants, ask your dentist now how you can deal with this situation ahead of time. He or she may be able to offer you additional and different options.