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How Long Do Dental Implants Last? A Guide to Understanding Their Durability

Many of us will experience tooth loss at some point in our lives. Fortunately, dental implants are a safe and effective treatment for replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile. However, one of the most common questions we hear from patients is, “How long do dental implants last?”

In this blog, we’ll guide you through understanding the durability of dental implants. Whether you’re considering dental implants or already have them, this guide will provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your oral health.

Summary of the Content

  • Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that replace missing teeth and restore the smile.

  • Factors that affect the longevity of dental implants include the material used, quality of implant, placement technique, patient’s oral hygiene and maintenance, patient’s general health and lifestyle habits, and the experience and skill of the dental practitioner.

  • The most common materials used for dental implants are titanium, zirconia, and ceramic, and they each have pros and cons.

  • Dental implants situated at the front of the mouth tend to have a higher success rate and a longer lifespan than those in the back of the mouth.

  • Factors that affect the longevity of dental implants for different teeth include the implant location, quality of bone, and the patients biting force.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in the jaw to support an artificial replacement tooth, bridge or denture. The titanium implants act like anchors that firmly hold the replacement tooth in place. Implants can also be used to stabilise dentures and support other dental prosthetics.

Tooth implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and restore your smile. There are different types of dental implants, including the following:

1.) Endosteal implants are the most common dental implant. They’re placed directly into the jawbone, substituting the missing tooth root. They fuse with the bone and provide a stable dental crown or bridge foundation.

2.) Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum tissue but above the jawbone. They’re used for patients who don’t have enough bone density to support an endosteal implant. Subperiosteal implants are usually made of metal.

3.) Zygomatic implants are used for patients who have lost significant bone in their upper jaw. They’re placed in the cheekbone (zygoma) instead of the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for replacement teeth.

Dental implants are a type of tooth replacement that provides a stable and long-lasting foundation by replacing the missing tooth root with a small titanium post surgically placed into the jawbone. This invasive procedure allows the implant post to fuse with the bone, providing a sturdy foundation for a custom-made dental crown, bridge, or denture.

Factors That Affect the Longevity of Dental Implants

  • Quality of implant material:
    The quality of the implant material used can affect the longevity of tooth implants. High-quality implants made from biocompatible materials like titanium tend to have a higher success rate and last longer.

  • Placement technique:
    The technique used to place the implant can also affect its longevity. Precise placement is crucial to ensure the implant fuses with the jawbone. Advanced imaging techniques like 3D imaging and computer-guided surgery can help improve placement accuracy.

  • Oral hygiene and maintenance:
    Proper oral hygiene and maintenance are essential for the long-term success of dental implants. Patients must maintain a regular oral hygiene routine which includes brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings and checkups.

  • General health and lifestyle habits can affect the longevity of your implants. Patients with underlying health conditions like diabetes may have a higher risk of implant failure.

  • The experience and skill of the dental practitioner in placing the implant can affect its longevity. Experienced practitioners are more likely to use the latest techniques and materials and have a lower rate of complications.

Longevity of Dental Implants Based on Material Used

The longevity of implant treatment can be affected by several factors, including the material used. Here’s what you need to know:

Different types of dental implant materials:

The most common materials used for teeth implants include titanium, zirconia, and ceramic.

  • Titanium implants have been used for many years and are the most widely accepted material due to their biocompatibility and osseointegration ability.

  • Zirconia implants are relatively newer and are growing in popularity due to their natural tooth-like appearance and biocompatibility.

The longevity of dental implants based on materials used:

Studies have shown that titanium implants have a high success rate and can last for decades. Zirconia implants are also known to have a good success rate, but they are less durable than titanium dental implants.

Pros and cons of each material

Different materials are available for dental implants, each with advantages and disadvantages. The most common materials used for dental implants include titanium, zirconia, and ceramic.

  • Titanium implants are widely used and have a long history of success. They’re biocompatible and integrate well with the surrounding bone, resulting in a stable implant lasting many years. However, titanium implants can cause an allergic reaction in some patients, and they may be more noticeable if placed in front of the mouth due to their metal colour.

  • Zirconia implants are becoming popular due to their white colour, which makes them more aesthetically pleasing. They’re also biocompatible and have been shown to promote osseointegration, which is the process of the implant fusing with the surrounding bone. However, zirconia implants may not be as strong as titanium implants and may be prone to fracture.

Longevity of Dental Implants Based on Location

The longevity of dental implants based on their location in the mouth

Dental implants situated at the front of your mouth tend to have a higher success rate and a longer lifespan than those in the back of the mouth. This is because the front teeth experience less biting force and are under less stress.

Factors that affect the longevity of dental implants based on their location

Several factors affect the longevity of dental implants for different teeth in the mouth.

  • The implant location plays a role as the teeth in the back of the mouth are subjected to greater biting forces than those in the front. This puts more stress on the implant and potentially causes it to fail sooner.

  • The quality and quantity of bone in the area where the implant is placed impact the implant’s success. Dental implants rely on the surrounding bone for stability.

  • Patients with a history of periodontal disease or other dental issues may have less bone density, which increases the risk of implant failure. Periodontal disease is an area-specific disease. If the area where the implant will be placed is affected by periodontal disease, the loss of bone in that area can affect the ability of the implant to fuse with the surrounding bone.

Average Lifespan of Dental Implants

The average lifespan of dental implants varies depending on several factors. But with proper care, they last for many years. According to research, the success rate for dental implants after ten years is approximately 90%. After 15 years, the success rate drops to around 80%. However, some implants last longer, up to 25 years or more.

The longevity of dental implants is influenced by various factors, including:

  • the quality of the implant material
  • the skill of the dentist performing the procedure
  • patients’ overall oral health
  • commitment to proper oral hygiene and maintenance
  • patient’s lifestyle habits

To ensure the longest possible lifespan for dental implants, maintain good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Regular dental checkups and cleanings also help detect issues early on and prevent the need for implant replacement.

Do Dental Implants Need to Be Replaced?

Dental implants don’t necessarily need to be replaced if they’re properly cared for and maintained. Dental implants can last for many years and even decades with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups.

However, there are some situations where a dental implant may need to be replaced. Some signs your implants may need replacing include

  • persistent pain or discomfort
  • mobility of the implant or the surrounding teeth
  • gum inflammation or infection
  • visible damage or wear to the implant or restoration attached to it

It’s important to promptly address issues with your dental implants, as delaying treatment can lead to further damage and potentially costly and complex procedures down the line.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, consult your dentist to determine the appropriate action.

How to Prolong the Lifespan of Dental Implants

Tips on how to maintain your dental implant procedure:

  • Proper oral hygiene practices:
    Just like natural teeth, dental implants require regular brushing and flossing to prevent gum disease. Use a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean your implants twice daily, and floss at least once daily to eliminate debris.

  • Attend regular checkups:
    Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining the health of your implants. Your dentist will be able to detect any potential problems early on and provide appropriate treatment to prevent further damage.

  • Avoid hard or sticky foods:
    Frequent consumption of hard or sticky foods puts excessive pressure on your dental implants and increases the risk of damage or loosening. Stick to softer, easier-to-chew foods instead.

If you experience any discomfort, pain, or swelling around the implant, or notice any changes in the appearance or stability of the implant, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Early intervention prevents the need for implant replacement.

Advantages of Dental Implants Over Other Tooth Replacement Options

Dental implants are a popular and effective tooth replacement option that offers several advantages over other options, such as dentures and dental bridges. Here are some of the advantages of dental implants:

  1. More natural look and feel:
    Dental implants are designed to look and feel like natural teeth. They are custom-made to match the colour and shape of your existing teeth, so they blend in seamlessly with your smile. Unlike dentures, which can look and feel artificial, dental implants provide a more natural-looking and comfortable solution.

  2. Long-lasting:
    Dental implants are made of durable materials such as titanium, which is biocompatible and integrates with the jawbone over time. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime, while dentures and dental bridges may need to be replaced every few years.

  3. Improved oral health:
    Dental implants help preserve the bone and gum tissue in the jaw, which can deteriorate over time due to tooth loss. This can improve overall oral health and prevent future problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and further tooth loss. Unlike dental implants, dentures and bridges usually contribute to bone loss.

  4. Preserves remaining natural teeth:
    Unlike dental bridges, implants do not require the trimming or alteration of adjacent teeth to support the restoration. This means that adjacent teeth are left intact, preserving the natural tooth structure and reducing the risk of future problems such as decay or gum disease in these teeth.

  5. Better speech and eating:
    With dental implants, you can speak and eat with more confidence and ease. Unlike dentures, which can slip or cause discomfort, dental implants provide a stable and secure foundation for chewing and speaking.

  6. Convenient and low maintenance:
    Dental implants require no special cleaning or maintenance beyond regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups. They also don’t require the use of oral irrigators, adhesives, or removal for cleaning, making them a convenient and hassle-free option.

While dental implants may require a higher upfront cost compared to dentures or dental bridges, the long-term benefits and improved quality of life make them a worthwhile investment for many patients.

Risks and Complications Associated with Dental Implants

There are possible risks and complications associated with dental implant surgery. These include:

  • Infection:
    Any surgery carries the risk of infection, and dental implant surgery is no exception. Infection can occur in the gums, jawbone, or implant itself.

  • Nerve damage:
    During the implant surgery, nearby nerves can be damaged, which leads to numbness, tingling, or pain in the surrounding areas of the mouth, chin, or tongue.

  • Implant failure:
    While rare, dental implants can fail to integrate with the jawbone or become loose over time. This may happen due to improper implant placement, infection, or other issues.

  • Sinus problems:
    Dental implants placed in the upper jaw can sometimes protrude into the sinus cavities, resulting in sinus problems like sinusitis.

  • Bone loss:
    In some cases, the jawbone may not be strong enough to support the implant, resulting in bone loss around the implant.

To minimise these risks and complications, choose a qualified and experienced dental implant specialist, follow post-operative instructions carefully, maintain good oral hygiene, and attend regular dental checkups.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are a valuable solution for missing teeth and restoring your smile. Still, the longevity of dental implants depends on various factors such as implant material, placement technique, oral hygiene and maintenance, general health and lifestyle habits, and the skill of the dental practitioner.

Titanium implants are the most widely accepted and long-lasting, while zirconia implants are becoming more popular due to their natural tooth-like appearance. However, titanium implants are more durable than zirconia implants.

To ensure the success of your dental implants, it’s crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene and attend regular checkups with your dentist. Additionally, choosing an experienced dental practitioner who uses the latest techniques and materials can improve the longevity of your dental implants.

If you’re considering dental implants or already have them, you must be informed about the factors affecting their longevity and take steps to ensure their success. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can provide a long-lasting and natural-looking solution for missing teeth, giving you the confidence to smile again.

West Perth Dental Centre is committed to helping our patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. Our experienced dental professionals use the latest technology and techniques to provide safe and effective dental implant procedures.

Everyone deserves to feel confident and comfortable with their smile, and we’re here to help you achieve that goal. Book an appointment to get your new smile today!

Dr. Michael Wu


Dr. Michael Wu

Dr. Michael Wu holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Western Australia. He never stops learning and regularly attends post-graduate education seminars, courses, and conferences to ensure he is providing his patients with excellent dental care.

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