As New Jersey’s premier provider of dental implants, we receive a lot of questions everyday about this procedure. After asking about the price and the procedure itself, one of the most common things patients want to know is how long dental implants last. This is understandable—you want to make sure your investment is worth it! The answer to this question is complex, though. We explain why below.
What Are Dental Implants?
The term “dental implants” is commonly used to describe a number of different restoration options for missing teeth. There are single-tooth dental implants that replace one tooth, implant-supported bridges, and a variety of implant-supported dentures.
From a dental perspective, the term really only refers to the posts or screws that are implanted into your jaw in order to support a crown, bridge, or denture. Essentially, dental implants are replacements for the roots of your missing teeth, while the restorations that attach to them replace the portion of the tooth that is visible above the gum line. For many types of implant-supported restorations, there’s a third piece involved called an abutment that attaches the restoration to the implant.
Answering how long dental implants last is difficult because these different components have different lifespans.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are designed to be a permanent replacement for your missing teeth, lasting a lifetime. Once your jawbone and dental implants fuse together, your implants are as stable as a natural tooth root. Most patients never have to replace them.
Even though dental implants can and should last a lifetime, that doesn’t mean they always do. Some factors that may shorten the lifespan of your dental implants include:
- Adherence to aftercare instructions
- Oral hygiene habits
- Whether you receive regular dental exams and cleanings every six months
- Tobacco use
- Oral habits (i.e., forces placed on your dental implants)
- The type of restoration attached to your implants
To give yourself the best chance for dental implant success, follow the instructions we provide to you after your dental implant surgery. Most patients who do have beautiful smiles for a lifetime.
How Long Do Dental Implant Restorations Last?
When patients ask how long dental implants last, they don’t just mean the implants themselves—they also mean the restorations that attach to them. So how long can you expect your crown, bridge, or denture to last?
The average implant-supported restoration will last 10 to 20 years, but it’s common for them to last even longer for patients who have good oral hygiene habits and visit their dentist regularly. While restorations cannot get cavities, they still need to be brushed and flossed well to prevent gum disease, which can compromise dental implants.