If you are gearing up for a tooth implant, you may wonder: how long do dental implants last? 97% of dental implants last for a minimum of 10 years. But if you take good care of your implant, it can last even longer.

Dental implants consist of durable materials that closely mimic the structure of real teeth. While dental implant failures used to be more common, failure is extremely rare these days when you go to an experienced implant dentist.

Yet, the exact amount of time your implant lasts depends on a wide variety of factors other than the dentist's skill. Your genes, oral hygiene habits, and more can also impact the longevity of dental implants.

Do you want to know what to expect from the lifetime of your new dental implant? Are you searching for tips to make your implants last longer? Then check out our guide because this one is for you!

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The lifetime of your dental implant depends on the component. Implants consist of three parts:

  • The titanium post that screws into the jawbone and is analogous to a natural tooth root (dentists call this the implant)
  • The abutment, the part that connects the implant to the crown
  • The crown, which is a fake tooth that secures onto the abutment

The crown and abutment are more exposed in the mouth. That makes them more susceptible to damage and decay. The implant post, on the other hand, has a far longer lifespan.

Research shows that titanium posts can last for 25 years or longer. Meanwhile, patients may have to replace the crown and/or abutment after 10–20 years.

An older study from 2009 found that 50%–80% of crowns last at least 15–20 years. 95% of crowns last for at least five years.

Can Dental Implants Fail?

Dental implants can and do fail. This can happen for many reasons, some of which we will discuss below.

An implant can fail at any time. But we usually designate implant failure as either early (failure within a few weeks or months) or late failure. The causes of early and late failure differ.

Most early implant failures happen due to osseointegration, which is the process during which the jawbone heals after the dentist screws the titanium implant post into it. Failure occurs when the jawbone does not heal properly.

Early implant failure can also happen due to bacterial infection, jawbone, necrosis, and more. Most late implant failures happen due to infections and/or a forceful bite that causes excessive loading and damage to the implant.

Why Do Implants Last So Long?

Implants last a long time, though not quite as long as natural teeth. How do implants do it? Their long lifetime has a lot to do with the materials manufacturers use to make implants.

The screw and abutment usually consist of titanium. Titanium is unique because it is as strong as steel but 45% lighter. This metal is also resistant to corrosion and highly durable.

Most impressively, titanium is highly biocompatible. That means our bodies do not reject this metal. This is why many medical devices consist of titanium, and dental implants are no exception.

Crowns come in many different tooth-colored materials. Dental implant manufacturers can create them from:

  • Metal
  • Resin polymers
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic

These materials come at different price points, too. As you can imagine, the more you pay, the longer the crown will last. But there are some exceptions to this rule, which we will discuss later. 

Why Longevity Is Important for Implants

Implants can last a long time, and this factor is critical for implant patients. Why? Here are three reasons patients want their dental implants to last as long as possible.

Implants Are Expensive

Some insurance companies will cover a portion of the cost of dental implants. But this is only if your dental implant or implant bridge is medically necessary. If it is not medically necessary, you will have to pay the full cost out of pocket.

The exact dental implant cost depends on the materials you choose, how many implants you need, the health of your jawbone, and more. In general, a single dental implant can cost less than $3,500 or up to $6,700.

A porcelain implant typically costs an average of $4,800. A full mouth of implants can cost less than $43k or up to $56k. And people with unhealthy jawbones need to undergo a two-step surgery, which costs more.

Dentures Are Uncomfortable

So, say your dental implant only lasts ten years. You are only thirty years old, but you can not afford a replacement. In this case, one of your only options is to get dentures.

These solutions are definitely cheaper than implants. But they are neither as permanent nor as comfortable as implants. Implants also look far more natural than these tooth replacement alternatives.

You could consider permanent dentures. But, again, you will have to receive new implants to support the dentures or bridge.

Implants Are Time-Consuming

Dental implant procedures can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. But the healing process after getting an implant is much longer. You may have to wait for four to six months for full intergration of the implant to the bone.

If your implant fails, you have to go through this process again. It is so much better to take good care of your implant the first time to avoid having to redo the whole process from scratch.

Factors Impacting the Lifetime of an Implant

Dozens of factors affect the success rate of an implant and dozens more help determine how long your implant lasts. For example, the age of the implant patient and the size of the implant can predict long-term success.

Here are the most important factors that go into the lifespan of your new tooth.

The Implant Dentist

Just because a dentist advertises dental implant services does not make him or her an expert. And dentists who do not have extensive experience and significant expertise in this procedure can mishandle your implant.

Poorly fitting or improperly placed implants and shortened periods of osseointegration are side effects of poor implant dentistry. So, it is critical to find a skilled and experienced implant dentist for your procedure.

Your Health

One of the top reasons for dental implant failure is insufficient healing. And some health conditions have slower healing as a symptom. These conditions include diabetes, arthritis, and some forms of cancer.

Medications taken for certain health conditions can also lead to a higher risk of dental implant failure. The good news is that studies show that administering an antibiotic before your procedure may help combat this effect.

The Implant Materials

Some implant materials last longer than others. We are not talking about the titanium post or abutment, though. We are actually referring to the material of the crown covering.

Resin crowns will have to be replaced sooner than other materials. At the same time, resin costs less than, say, porcelain or ceramic. Metal crowns have the longest lifespan and are affordable, but they can be unsightly.

Pressed ceramic crowns are the gold standard. They last longer than all-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns but look just as natural. The reason they last so long is that implant makers reinforce them with hard metal cores.

Your Jawbone

People with low jawbone mass due to missing teeth, tooth decay, infection, or genetics are not good candidates for dental implants. To even get started with the implant, these patients must get a bone graft.

Bone grafts add a higher cost to the overall price of the procedure. But it also adds more time as you wait for the graft to heal. Even when your jawbone does heal, some people still do not have enough bone for an implant.

The Implant Location

The location of your missing teeth can impact the implant replacements' success rate. For example, researchers have found that maxillary (top) teeth see higher success rates compared to mandibular (bottom) teeth.

Teeth in the back of your mouth also fare worse when it comes to implants. Bottom back teeth fail at a rate of 3.3%, and top back teeth fail at a rate of 2.2%.

Meanwhile, the top front teeth have a failure rate of 2.1%, and the bottom front teeth have a failure rate of 1%.

Your Oral Hygiene

Last but certainly not least, not caring for your teeth and gums is one of the primary culprits of implant failure. This is also one of the only implant success rate factors that you have complete control over.

We will give you some tips on how to care for your teeth and implants next. But, at the very least, make sure you brush your teeth twice daily, floss at least once daily, and visit your dentist at least twice per year.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Dental Implants

So how can you ensure you get the most bang for your buck with your new tooth implant? First, make sure to adhere to all after-care instructions your dentist provides after your procedure.

Otherwise, here are our top tips for getting the most out of your tooth implant.

Practice Excellent Dental Hygiene

We have already mentioned the basics of good oral hygiene. If you need a refresher, make sure you are brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush. And if you use a water flossing device, make sure you use regular floss, too. Water floss can take care of larger pieces of food but not the filmy white substance that coats your teeth.

Additionally, using mouthwash daily can help prevent infection-causing bacteria. Make sure to choose an antibacterial mouthwash. And consider an alcohol-free mouthwash to protect your teeth and prevent dry mouth.

Limit Tobacco and Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol and tobacco can take a major toll on your teeth. Why? Both of these products can lead to oral infection and gum disease, which are common reasons for early and late implant failure.

People who smoke, in particular, are at a higher risk of dental implant failure than people who do not use tobacco products. That's because the nicotine in tobacco can compromise the healing process in addition to causing infection.

As we mentioned when we talked about alcohol-free mouthwashes, alcohol can dry out your mouth. This can lead not only to bad breath but also an increase in oral bacteria, which is the culprit for oral infections and diseases.

See Your Dentist Regularly

Experts recommend seeing your dentist at least twice per year. Most dental insurance providers will cover these visits. But getting implants could mean you need more than just two check-ins per year.

For instance, seeing your dentist regularly after getting tooth implants can help prevent complications. We also recommend considering more frequent dentist visits if you are part of any of the following high-risk groups:

  • People who smoke
  • People with diabetes
  • People who are pregnant
  • People with gum disease
  • People with immune disorders
  • People who are at high risk for cavities

Need a Tooth Implant in Orlando, FL?

So, how long do dental implants last? It depends on many factors, including your oral hygiene and the skill of your implant dentist. Visiting your dentist regularly can also help prolong the lifetime of your dental implants.

Are you searching for an 'experienced implant dentist near me'? You have come to the right place. Schedule an appointment at our Orlando office today and get your new implant!