Patients who are considering dental implants have a lot of questions when they meet with us at our Manhattan dental practice for a consultation. There are some questions that are easy to answer, but others are complicated. You might think that, “How long do dental implants last?” would have a straightforward answer, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered.
Understanding Dental Implants
The most important piece in understanding how long dental implants last is understanding what we mean by the term “dental implants.” Technically speaking, dental implant refers only to the post or screw that is placed in the jaw, not the entire restoration. The dental implant replaces the root of your missing tooth and a crown, bridge, or denture is attached to it to restore the visible portion of the tooth above the gum-line. There’s also an abutment piece that connects the two. Often, when patients talk about “dental implants,” they are using the term to describe all three parts, not just the implant post.
Why does this matter? Because dental implants and the restorations that attach to them have different lifespans.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are designed to be a permanent replacement for the roots of missing teeth. Through a process called osseointegration, the jawbone and dental implants fuse together, giving them the same stability as a natural tooth. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime—most patients never need to have them replaced.
To ensure that your dental implant surgery is a success, it’s important to follow our aftercare instructions to the letter. Tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, and missing follow-up appointments will all increase the odds of dental implant failure.
How Long Do Dental Implant Restorations Last?
The crowns, bridges, or dentures that attach to dental implants receive more wear and stress than the implants themselves because they’re used for biting and chewing. This means they have a shorter lifespan. Bad oral habits, including jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and biting your nails or ice, can all damage your restorations. The material you choose for your restoration matters too—lower quality materials won’t look as realistic and are likely to become damaged sooner. At Madison Dental Arts, we offer our patients the highest quality restorations available.
An implant-supported crown, denture, or bridge can last from 10 to 20 years, but they may last even longer than this with diligent oral hygiene habits, including brushing for two minutes, twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and seeing your dentist every six months for dental cleanings and evaluations. Although implant-supported restorations cannot get cavities, it’s important to brush them well to prevent the buildup of bacteria, as this can cause gum disease and lead to implant failure.