How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

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Approximately 178 million people in the United States have at least one missing tooth. If you’re among them, dental implants are a long-term solution to the challenges that go along with tooth loss.

At Volterra Dental Comprehensive and Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Richard Blackburn and his team specialize in the placement and restoration of dental implants. Today, let’s take a look at the typical lifespan of dental implants and how to make yours last as long as possible.

A closer look at dental implants

More durable and longer lasting than traditional dentures, dental implants are surgically placed into your jaw and hold a crown, bridge, or implant-supported denture on top. They act as an artificial root for people with tooth loss caused by tooth decay, gum disease, or an injury.

Patients with congenital missing teeth or teeth that never developed may also benefit from dental implants. The number of implants you need depends on how many teeth you’re missing and the type of restoration you choose.

During the implant procedure, Dr. Blackburn numbs your mouth with local anesthesia and places one or more small titanium posts into your jaw. A temporary crown or bridge may be used while your implant heals and bonds to your jawbone.


A successful recovery and integration are the first steps to ensure your implants last a long time. To minimize pain, swelling, and the risk of damage while healing, Dr. Blackburn recommends the following:

  • No exercise or heavy lifting for 72 hours after surgery
  • Eat soft foods or chew on the other side of your mouth
  • Brush, floss, and clean the surgical site as directed by our team

Following our directions regarding prescribed antibiotics and other medications helps you start a strong recovery that supports a long life for your implants.

How long do dental implants last?

Your dental implant can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. However, the crown or bridge that the implant supports may need to be replaced due to wear and tear after 15 to 20 years.

While the dental implant itself is meant to be a permanent fixture, there are several factors that can impact its lifespan:

Oral care

A thorough oral hygiene routine is crucial to maintain your dental implants. When plaque is allowed to accumulate, it can lead to gum disease. Gum disease causes inflammation, receding gums, and eventually bone loss in your jaw.

Bone loss due to gum disease affects the stability of your implant and can cause implant failure. Remember to brush and floss twice daily, limit sugary food and drinks, and see our team for regular dental exams. 


Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can cause your dental implant to fracture or loosen. As you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, the implant shifts with the motion. This can interfere with the healing process and cause damage down the road.

A night guard prevents you from grinding or clenching your teeth and protects your implants from the effects of bruxism. 

Smoking and other habits

Dental implants tend to be less successful in smokers than in non-smokers. Tobacco use can interfere with the blood flow to your jaw and slow the healing process. It also increases your risk of gum disease and resulting bone loss. 

Other habits that can have a negative impact on your implants include nail biting and chewing ice or hard candy. 

Are you ready for dental implants?

Dental implants are a permanent way to restore a natural-looking, functional smile. To find out if you’re a candidate, make an appointment today with Dr. Blackburn and the Volterra Dental Comprehensive and Aesthetic Dentistry team in Los Alamitos, California.