With the Internet facilitating access to vast amounts of free information, dental practitioners face providing treatment for an increasingly informed public. However, the available content is not filtered, and it can be difficult for patients to discriminate between research-informed evidence and "glamorised" material of dubious origin. Patients reasonably expect a return for their investment and want to know how long their treatment will last. Clinicians have an obligation to inform their patients so that they can make reasoned decisions about treatment options. Longevity data are also informative for health agencies setting service schedules for publicly funded treatment, and for determining settlements by insurers such as ACC. Historically, much of the prosthodontic treatment performed in practice has relied heavily on dogma, low-level anecdotal evidence, and clinical case reports. This paper considers the literature on fixed and removable prosthodontic restorations and provides a critical review which can be used practically as the basis for informing patients, and to assist decision-makers in making fair and appropriate judgements.