Most people who are considering dental implants want to know how long they will last—after all, they require a substantial investment in both time and money, so patients want to know that they’ll be worth it. Because implant-based restorations have a few separate components and each has its own lifespan, the answer to how long dental implants last is a little more complicated than you might imagine.
Dental Implants: The Basics
Although the term “dental implant” is commonly used as a catch-all, a dental implant is actually only the post or screw that is surgically implanted into the jaw, replacing the root of your tooth. The implant supports a denture, bridge, or crown (the restoration), and often a piece called an abutment connects the two. (Some types of dental implants, like mini dental implants and certain same-day procedures, do not require an abutment.)
Implant-based restorations range from single-tooth restorations to full mouth restorations that replace all of the teeth on both arches. Restorations can be created from a variety of materials, which has an impact on how long they will last.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
A process known as osseointegration begins when dental implants are surgically inserted into the jaw. During this process, your dental implants and jawbone fuse together. Dental implants are as stable as natural tooth roots after osseointegration; your dental implants are likely to last a lifetime and never need to be replaced at this point.
Still, there are some exceptions to be aware of. Dental implant failure is most common in patients who do not follow aftercare instructions, smoke or use other tobacco products, have poor dental hygiene habits, or do not see their dentist for follow-up visits and preventive care. After osseointegration, it’s very rare for dental implants to fail for no apparent reason, so by following the guidelines we provide you, you can maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
How Long Do Implant-Supported Restorations Last?
Most dental implant-supported restorations will eventually need to be replaced, with the majority lasting an average of five to 10 years. Your restorations can last longer if you practice good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist every six months for dental cleanings and oral health exams. While restorations cannot get cavities, your bridge, crown, or denture must be brushed and flossed to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease, which is one of the most common reasons for implant failure.
Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), chewing on ice, biting your nails, or opening packages with your teeth can all damage your restorations and shorten their lifespan. It's also important to choose a high quality material for your implant-supported restoration. A well-made restoration will not only look and feel like a natural tooth, but it will also be more likely to last many years before needing replacement.
Learn More About Dental Implants
Do you need dental implants? To learn more about your options, contact us today to schedule consultation with one of our oral surgeons.