How Long Do Dental Implants Last? | Smile Stories

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

how long do dental implants last

If you have a missing tooth and are considering getting dental implants, you are probably wondering — “how long do dental implants last?” 

A whopping 27 million British adults are missing a tooth, and the great news is that dental implants are designed to be a permanent, long-lasting solution to replace these missing teeth and give you a smile you have always wanted.

Years of research has refined products, procedures and aftercare, meaning that dental implants now last 20-30 years.

But, poor oral hygiene, lifestyle choices and underlying health conditions can reduce the expected lifespan. 

In this article, our experts at Smile Stories will explain how and why dental implants last such a long time, the key to their longevity, factors that can shorten the predicted lifespan and what you can do to make them last as long as possible.

Why Dental Implants Can Last a Lifetime

Dental implants are designed to look and feel like existing natural teeth. The dental implant acts as an artificial root — it doesn’t just replace the natural tooth, like alternative methods.

Back in the 1950s, an orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Brånnemark discovered that after placing a titanium post into bone it couldn’t be removed without breaking the bone. Brånnemark realised that titanium had a unique ability; it fused to living bones. 

The Professor realised the potential for replacing missing teeth by fixing a prosthetic crown onto a titanium screw post implanted into the jawbone. The titanium implant doesn’t move. This is one of the reasons why they last a long time and why teeth implants are a permanent solution. It also answered the question “how long do dental implants last?” — potentially a lifetime.

The first implant of its kind was fitted into the first human, Gosta Larsson, in 1965. Incredibly, 40 years later, when Larsson died, the original teeth implants were still in place. 

In the 1980s, dental implants often lasted for just 15 years, but due to advances in products, techniques and aftercare, over 95% of dental implants now last a lifetime.

Factors That Could Shorten the Lifespan of Dental Implants

Whilst dental implants can last a lifetime, several factors can reduce their lifespan, and some people aren’t suitable for dental implants. Let’s take a deeper look into the factors that can lead to dental implant failure.

Post-Surgery Advice

After surgery, your dentist will give you some important aftercare advice. You must follow this as it will help prevent infection and micro-movements in the implants, which could increase the chances of implant failure. 

Poor Oral Health and Hygiene

The mouth is full of bacteria. Failure to develop a good oral hygiene routine may lead to inflammation of the gum tissue around the implant. A condition called Peri-implantitis can develop, which is similar to gum disease. It can lead to bone loss and implant failure. 

Insufficient Bone

Patients need to have enough jawbone for the bone to fuse adequately with the implant and secure it in place. Dentists need to ensure clients have enough bone before the procedure. Those without enough bone may need to have a bone transplant first. 

Older Implant Technology

If implants were fitted years ago, we would have used older technology products. These are known to have a shorter lifespan than modern products and might need replacing.

Patient Health

Smoking, alcohol consumption and underlying conditions such as diabetes and cancer can slow the healing process down drastically. It’s important to let your cosmetic dentist know about any illness and follow the advice about smoking and drinking. 

The Key to Long-Lasting Dental Implants

Modifications and improvements in the dental implant treatment, manufacturing of titanium posts and better aftercare have allowed dentists to achieve the maximum longevity of dental implants.

The experience gained from over 50 years of research by dedicated implantologists has taught dentists that the key to achieving longevity of dental implants is a combination of high-quality products, skilled dentists to site the implants, and frequent health checks suited to the different stages of life.

Several things need to happen to ensure the maximum longevity of dental implants:

  • Dental implants must be fitted by trained, knowledgeable dentists who use top quality products. Don’t be tempted to use a dentist based on price alone. Cheaper rates might mean a lower success rate, poor quality products and/or a less skilled, less experienced or less knowledgeable dentist. Check out the costs and fees here at Smile Stories and take your first step towards smile confidence.
  • Aftercare advice, such as oral hygiene and lifestyle choices, must be followed. Failure to follow advice can lead to bone loss and peri-implantitis, similar to gum disease.
  • Attend dental and hygienist appointments. Dentists are the best people to spot any problems with implants and stop any issues in their tracks. Let the dentist know if you have or have developed any new health conditions.

How to Maximise the Lifespan of Dental Implants

If you want to ensure that your dental implants last as long as possible, there are some steps you can take to extend their lifespan. 

  • Follow any aftercare advice — refrain from smoking, limit alcohol intake and eat gum-healthy foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, tea, water, nuts, etc.
  • Develop and maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss twice a day. 
  • Attend regular visits to see your dentist and hygienist to detect any issues quickly.
  • Use a mouthguard to protect your implants from damage. Contact sports and teeth grinding can impair the implants.
  • Let your cosmetic dentist know straight away if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, gum inflammation, have any loose or wobbly implants or have difficulty chewing and/or biting.

Use a Reputable, Experienced Implant Dental Clinic

You can follow all of the aftercare advice given, but if the implants are not fitted by a trained dentist using top quality products, the dental implants might not last as long as you would expect. Smile Stories uses premium Straumann implants, and our Implantologist, Carmen, has trained at the prestigious New York Dental School. This is just one of the many ways Smile Stories is different from your average cosmetic dentist.

Low-quality products may have a shorter lifespan than top quality titanium posts used by reputable UK dentists. 

All types of surgery carry a risk of infection, which can compromise the success of treatment. Dental surgeries offering lower prices may cut corners. They may not employ sterile techniques that ensure minimal chances of infection during the procedure.

Dentists who are not fully trained in current best practices may set implants incorrectly, without ensuring adequate bone growth or the correct positioning, affecting how long dental implants last.  They may not confirm how suitable you are for dental implants. 

How Long do Dental Implants Last — Our Conclusion

Dental implants are one of the most successful dental procedures. They are designed to last a lifetime, but several factors can shorten their lifespan. To ensure that dental implants last as long as possible, it’s essential to follow any aftercare advice given by your team of trained implant dentists. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene and making the right lifestyle choices greatly affect how long dental implants last.

The talented team of trained dental implantologists here at Smile Stories are dedicated to ensuring dental implants last by using good quality modern products, ensuring excellent standards of hygiene and the most up to date techniques and approaches at every stage in the procedure. 

Start your smile journey today and take the next step with Smile Stories.

Are you looking for dental implants in Bournemouth? Here at Smile Stories, our dental implant specialists are on hand to transform how you feel about your smile. Get in touch with us today and book your free video consultation.


Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) is a dentist who qualified with honours. Based in the Poole and Bournemouth area, he has a keen interest in teeth straightening and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign provider.

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