We commonly describe dental implants as being “lifetime restorations,” and that’s true. Longevity is one of the benefits of dental implants. They have the ability to last 20, 30, 40, even 50 years, if you care for them properly. Once the dental implant integrates with the jawbone, the attachment is essentially permanent, and, in the absence of disease or trauma, there is no reason why the implant will fail.
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Scientific Studies on Dental Implant Longevity
As we are moving further into the dental implant age, we have had more time to design and perform studies on the long-term survival rates for dental implants. These studies show that dental implants have a very high survival rate over long periods of time.
|Survival Rate||Study Length||Number of Implants||Authors||Date|
|91%||20 Years||69||Lekholm U, Gröndahl K, Jemt T||2006|
|99%||20 Years||123||Astrand P, et al.||2008|
|89.5%||20 Years||95||Chappuis V, et al||2013|
|93.3%||20 Years||12,737||Krebs M, et al.||2015|
|88%||Up to 23.5 Years||388||Becker ST, et al||2015|
A few notes about the results of these studies are in order. Overall, the studies are relatively small, which limits their statistical strength. In the Astrand study, there were originally 48 patients, but 19 of the patients had died during the follow-up period, so data only reflects dental implants in the 21 patients that could be reached for follow-up out of the remaining 29.
In the Becker study, researchers were looking at the survival rates for a particular implant system, and it was also looking at survival rates for people with gum disease. Although the survival rate for this study is relatively low, the study also showed that 83% of people with failed implants had a medical history of gum disease, significantly higher than the 50% we expect among the general population.
The largest study, by Krebs, et al, had follow-up periods of up to 20 years, but because most people had shorter follow-ups, the study’s statistical survival rate was only projected for 17 years. Still, with its very large sample size, that study gives us a good idea about what we can expect from dental implants–they are very likely to last 20 years or more.
Anecdotal Accounts of Long-Lasting Dental Implants
Although scientific studies have only been designed up to 20 years in length or so, we have many accounts of dental implants that last much longer. For example, the first dental implant patient even had his implants for more than 40 years before he passed away of natural causes. And now the second dental implant recipient has had his dental implants for nearly 50 years, and they remain in place and healthy.
How to Achieve Long-Lasting Dental Implants
Although most dental implants last a long time, some fail early. Why do some implants succeed and others fail? There are many factors to watch out for to ensure your dental implants last for decades.
Healthy Mouth: The leading cause of dental implant failure is peri-implantitis, a variation on gum disease that affects dental implants. Proper implant maintenance can help you avoid this. If you brush, floss, make regular dental visits, and follow your dentist’s instructions for avoiding gum disease, you are much more likely to to have dental implants that last.
Healthy Body: Another common cause of dental implant failure is that the implants just don’t integrate into the bone. Ensuring you get proper nutrition can help you supply your body with what it needs to grow bone around dental implants.
Proper Placement: Dental implants placed in a good amount of bone are more likely to survive. They also need to be placed so that they do not experience adverse bite forces, which can potentially erode the bone around the implant. A neuromuscular dentist has a different approach to placing restorations that incorporates more information about your bite, to help you avoid damaging force on your implants.
Do You Want Lifelong Dental Implants?
If you are considering dental implants, we can help you get started. Please call (912) 234-8282 today for an appointment with an implant dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.