STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:Patients and clinicians are aware of the efficacy and benefits of complete dentures, but evidence regarding their longevity is limited. PURPOSE:The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the literature describing the longevity of complete dentures and to review variations in longevity by denture type and duration of follow-up. MATERIAL AND METHODS:Four electronic databases were searched by using key terms: MEDLINE, CINAHL (EBSCO), Dentistry and Oral Sciences Databases, and The Cochrane Library. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were reviewed according to an established protocol and data extracted. Reference lists of identified studies were examined. Risk of bias was assessed by using the AXIS tool. Weighted means and weighted standard deviations were calculated. Pooled complete denture failure proportions were estimated by using random effects models based on the DerSimonian and Laird method. RESULTS:The search yielded 21 607 unique abstracts, of which 273 met the inclusion criteria. Assessment of the full-text articles reduced this number to 42. Of these, 24 studies were rated as having low risk of bias and 18 as very low. The weighted mean ±standard deviation longevity of maxillary complete dentures was 10.3 ±3.8 years, of mandibular dentures was 8.6 ±2.6 years, and of both maxillary and mandibular dentures was 10.8 ±4.7 years. The pooled failure proportion for complete dentures observed for 2 years or less was 0.05 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.00-0.10), 5 to 6 years was 0.12 (95% CI: 0.08-0.16), and 10 years or more was 0.41 (95% CI: 0.28-0.53). CONCLUSIONS:Complete dentures, fabricated primarily in university settings, were found to have a weighted mean ±standard deviation longevity of 10.1 ±4.0 years. The failure rate of these prostheses increased with denture age, and the longevity of maxillary dentures was greater than that of mandibular dentures.