If you’re weighing the pros and cons of investing in dental implants for yourself, you’re likely wondering, “How long do dental implants last?” After all, it’s natural to want to make sure your dental implants are worth the expense and will last for years to come. Answering this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think because different components of an implant-based restoration have different lifespans.
Understanding Dental Implants
For those of us who work in dentistry, the phrase “dental implants” refers only to the fixtures that are inserted into the jaw to support a restoration (a denture, crown, or bridge). Among the general population, the term is often used to describe the implant itself, the restoration attached to it, and any other associated procedures.
Dental implants are posts or screws that we use to replace the roots of missing teeth, whereas restorations replace the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. You may also require a third component, known as an abutment, to connect your restoration to the implant, depending on the type of dental implants you’re getting. For example, abutments are not required for mini dental implants or some same-day dental implant solutions.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
To replace the roots of your teeth, dental implants will be surgically inserted into the jaw. Your implants should be as stable as the roots of natural teeth after osseointegration (the fusion of the jawbone and dental implants) occurs. Dental implants last a lifetime for the majority of patients and will never need to be replaced.
Still, there are exceptions, and while the majority of dental implants last for many decades, not all of them do. Dental implant failure is more common in patients who ignore aftercare instructions, smoke, have poor oral hygiene habits, or do not see the dentist on a regular basis for comprehensive oral evaluations and dental cleanings. There are also some instances where a dental implant fails for no discernable reason, although these cases are rare.
How Long Do Dental Implant Restorations Last?
The restorations attached to your dental implants receive more wear and tear from daily use than the implants themselves, so they don’t last as long. Grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, biting your nails, chewing on ice, or using your teeth as tools to open packages can all harm your restorations as well. Knowing this, t's important to choose the highest quality material you can afford for your crown, bridge, or denture. You'll achieve results that not only look natural, but also last for decades with some of the advanced materials available for restorations today.
The restoration supported by your dental implant(s) should last five to ten years, but it could remain in good condition much longer if you are diligent with your oral hygiene practices and see your dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning. Although restorations are not susceptible to tooth decay, they must be carefully cleaned and flossed to remove the build up of bacteria that causes gum disease, which is one of the primary reasons for dental implant failure.