Tips to Make Your Dental Implants Last a Lifetime

Dental implants are often regarded as the “gold standard” in terms of tooth replacement. Compared to other types of prosthetics and restorative treatments, dental implants have the highest success rate (and lowest failure rate) in modern dentistry, making them an excellent solution for anyone with missing teeth.

Key takeaways:
  • arrow-right
    The success rate for dental implants is extremely high.
  • arrow-right
    Dental implants have the lowest failure rate of any dental restoration.
  • arrow-right
    With good home care, most dental implants can last for life.
  • arrow-right
    Special accommodations must be made to avoid implant failure.

Modern advancements in dental implant therapy have evolved to the point that these biocompatible, hypoallergenic restorations practically mirror the function and feel of natural teeth. Comparatively speaking, the bone integration process that fuses implants into place allows them to support even more weight than healthy teeth do. But what is their success rate, and how long can dental implants last?

Dental implant success rate

Ask any dentist, and most will tell you that, as a general rule, dental implants have up to a 98–99% success rate. That means there is a 1–2% risk of your dental implant treatment failing. This is the highest success rate of any modern tooth restoration, including dental fillings, crowns, and bridges. As such, implants are one of the most predictable and successful types of tooth replacements that a dentist can offer their patients.

The key to implant success is “osseointegration,” a natural process where the bone in your jaw fuses with the ribbed surface of the implant. Osseointegration requires approximately 3–6 months and, once complete, provides complete support around the dental implant. While there are factors that can delay or interfere with an implant’s risk of failure, most of them can be managed through proper treatment planning, good home care, and the experience of your dental implant provider.

Because dental implants have the potential to last for decades— if not a lifetime —there is no need to continually update or replace them every several years, as is common with dentures or bridges.

Reasons for Implant Failure

Peri-implantitis, the leading cause of dental implant failure is peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is a dental implant form of gum disease. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and bleeding. This infection causes the gums and bone to pull away from the implant and is caused by bacteria and/or poor oral hygiene.

Poor oral hygiene, dental implants must be cleaned routinely to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, which trigger peri-implantitis. Without good home care and daily flossing, implant failure is more likely.

Inadequate bone support or osseointegration, healthy bone is needed to support a dental implant. If there is the inadequate bone density or the bone fails to integrate with the implant, the implant will likely fail. Bone grafting may be required. If you smoke, it could delay proper integration after implant placement.

Rupture of the sinus membrane, if you’ve gone quite some time with missing teeth, the nasal sinus lining above your tooth roots may have “dropped” or “sunk” down into that space. The sinus will need to be lifted and a bone graft placed; otherwise, the implant could rupture the lining of the nasal sinus and cause chronic infections (leading to implant failure).

Medications/prescriptions, always make your dentist aware of any and all medications that you’re taking, as some can interfere with implant surgery or bone integration, including antidepressants, osteoporosis prescriptions, antibiotics, or over-the-counter pain relievers.

Keys to Implant Success

To lower your risk of dental implant failure (and improve the long-term success of your investment), follow these important steps:

  • Schedule routine preventative dental cleanings every six months. Dental implants collect plaque and tartar buildup, just like natural teeth. Plan to have your implants professionally cleaned at least twice each year.
  • Practice good oral hygiene, including flossing or using a water flosser around each of your implants every day. Your home care routine is the most crucial aspect of your dental implant success or failure rate. Brush and floss around every implant, every day.
  • Wear a night guard if you tend to clench or grind your teeth. Excess pressure on your dental implant restoration could interfere with osseointegration, so consider wearing a night guard or bite splint. Studies show that people who suffer from bruxism (clenching and grinding) are at a higher risk of dental implant failure.
  • Have your implants placed by an experienced dentist or specialist. Some general dentists have extra training and resources in dental implant placement, such as 3D imaging, mini-residencies, and certifications. Specialists such as periodontists, oral surgeons, and prosthodontists also offer more advanced implant treatments.
  • Consider supportive therapies as recommended by your implant provider. For example, if you require bone grafting or sinus lift surgery to create a healthy space for implant placement, don’t ignore your dentist’s recommendations. Failing to do so could increase your risk of implant failure.
  • Don’t rush the process. Dental implants require several months for full integration between the implant and bone to take place. Attaching a “same day” prosthesis on top of your dental implant could potentially interfere with integration and healing, resulting in a higher risk of implant complications.

Are dental implants right for you?

If you’re concerned about whether fit the criteria for getting dental implants or if they’ll be successful, the best thing to do is to consult with a dental implant provider or specialist. These dentists will examine your oral anatomy, discuss your health history, and provide you with a detailed care plan for you to consider. Visiting a dentist for a consultation or exam does not obligate you to proceed with dental implant treatment, but it is an essential first step for anyone considering this state-of-the-art tooth replacement method.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked  


Sam Andrews Sam Andrews
prefix 2 days ago
When you said that it's possible for us to protect our dental implant from grinding effects by putting on a bite splint at night, it gave me such huge relief. My sister-in-law has decided to get an implant since her lower front tooth fell out last night. I'll bring her to see a dentist first so she can have further discussions regarding the matter.