Because dental implants are a significant investment in both time and money, most patients want to know how long their restorations will last before committing to the procedure. If you're wondering how long dental implants last, the answer is a bit complicated because each component of an implant-based restoration has its own expected lifespan.
Understanding Dental Implants
Although we often talk about “dental implants” as if they’re a single restoration, most implant-based restorations have three different parts: the dental implant itself, the restoration that attaches to it, and an abutment piece that connects the two. (Note that abutments are not required for certain types of dental implants, such as mini dental implants and same-day dental implants.)
The restoration replaces the visible portion of one or more missing teeth. This restoration could be a dental crown, a dental bridge, or a fixed or removable denture. A single dental implant is used to support a single crown, two dental implants are normally required for bridges, and several implants are necessary for dentures.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are surgically placed into the jaw so they can fuse with the jawbone. This fusion of implant and bone is known as osseointegration. Osseointegration makes your dental implant as stable as a natural tooth, and this stability means that it will likely last a lifetime and never need to be replaced.
However, there are some exceptions to this. While the majority of dental implant fixtures will last a lifetime, no dental procedure has a 100% success rate, and this is true of dental implants as well. Implant failure is more common in patients who do not follow aftercare instructions, smoke, have poor oral hygiene habits, or do not see the dentist on a regular basis for preventive care and follow-up appointments. Outside of these situations, it is uncommon for a dental implant to fail.
How Long Do Implant-Supported Restorations Last?
The majority of implant-supported restorations will eventually need to be replaced, with most lasting five to 10 years on average. Your restorations will last longer if you maintain appropriate oral hygiene habits to keep your gums and remaining natural teeth healthy and visit your dentist every six months for a comprehensive oral evaluation and dental cleaning. Although restorations are not susceptible to cavities, they must be cleaned and flossed to remove the bacteria that causes gum disease, which is one of the leading causes of implant failure.
Grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, chewing on ice, biting your nails, or opening packages with your teeth can all damage and shorten the life of your restorations. It's also crucial to choose the right material for your crown, bridge, or denture. A high-quality restoration will not only look and feel natural, but it will also have the ability to last for decades with proper care.