Dental implants are a significant investment, so it's understandable that you’d want to make sure they’ll stand the test of time. If you’re wondering, “How long do dental implants last?” you’re not alone, but answering this question is difficult because an implant-based restoration has a few different components, each with its own expected lifespan.
Understanding Dental Implants
First, it's important to understand what we mean by "dental implants." In the dental profession, this phrase refers only to the fixture that is inserted into the jaw to support a restoration (a denture, crown, or bridge). Outside of dentistry, the term is commonly used to refer to the restoration and the implant fixture. This can sometimes cause confusion.
Dental implants are used to replace the roots of missing teeth, whereas restorations replace the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. You may also need a third component, known as an abutment, to connect your crown, bridge, or denture to the implant fixture, depending on the type of restoration you’re getting. (Abutments are not required for mini dental implants and some same-day dental implant options.)
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are surgically inserted into the jaw and will be as stable as the roots of natural teeth after osseointegration (the fusion of the jawbone and dental implants) occurs. Dental implant fixtures last a lifetime for the majority of patients and will never need to be replaced.
Of course, there are exceptions—most dental implant fixtures last a lifetime, but not all of them do. Implant failure is more common in patients who ignore aftercare instructions, use tobacco products, have poor oral hygiene habits, or do not see the dentist on a regular basis for preventive care and follow-up appointments. Cases in which a dental implant fails for no apparent reason are extremely rare.
How Long Do Implant-Supported Restorations Last?
The restorations that are supported by dental implants usually need replacement at some point, with most lasting an average of five to 10 years. That said, restorations can last much longer if you practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist every six months for a dental evaluation and cleaning. Although restorations can’t get cavities, they must be brushed and flossed to remove the harmful bacteria that causes gum disease, which is one of the most common reasons for implant failure.
Grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, chewing on ice, or using your teeth as tools to open packages can all harm your restorations and shorten their lifespan. It's also important to choose the right material for your crown, bridge, or denture. Invest in a high-quality restoration and you'll achieve results that not only look and feel natural, but also last for decades to come.
Learn More About Dental Implants
Do you have questions about dental implants? Contact us today at +1-613-544-2224 to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists and learn more about which dental implant options are right for you.