Dental implants are one of the most successful treatments in all of dentistry. At least 93% of dental implants last 20 years or more, according to long-term studies. But the current level of success doesn’t mean that we’re content with the way things are. We’ll keep seeking ways to make the procedure more successful until we achieve a 100% survival rate.
And now a new study gives us hints about how we might improve our success rate with dental implants. The large study shows us that bone augmentation may lead to better success rates.
20 Years, 3000 patients, 10,000 Implants
There are many problems with studying the long-term success rates of dental implants. One of the biggest is simply designing studies that are long enough to get an accurate picture. That’s why studies that are 20 years or longer are so valuable to us.
But when studies get long, they sometimes fall prey to another difficulty: having enough patients. Many studies of dental implants rely on just a handful of patients. So when we have a study that utilizes all the patients in three private practices for this time period, it’s even more valuable.
The population for this study included 3095 patients (1693 of whom were women) who received a total of 10,158 dental implants. The average age of the patients was 52.4 at the time of implantation. Even though they were handled at three different practices, all patients received a standardized follow-up care, including a checkup three months after placement and yearly evaluations.
Although follow-up for this study was up to 20 years, most patients had much shorter follow-up periods. Ten-year follow-up was available for only 14.1% of patients, and 15 year follow-up was available for only 2.7% of patients.
Bone augmentation was used for 58.3% of procedures. Over the years, patients received many different types of bone grafts materials, including their own bone, and a variety of 13 different commercial bone graft materials.
Bone Augmentation Improved Survival Rates
The overall survival rates for this study were in line with other studies: 95.5% overall, and 98.1% for single-unit implants. Single-unit implants replace just a single missing tooth with a single implant and a single crown.
Bone augmentation led to significantly increased survival rates. Implants without augmentation had a survival rate of 94.3%, while implants with augmentation had a survival rate of 96.3%. The disparity was a little smaller for single-unit implants but still significant (97.1% vs. 98.8%).
The potential benefit for bone augmentation must be weighed against the additional cost of the procedure, but in many cases, bone augmentation just makes sense. It helps prepare the site for the dental implant, and if it improves long-term success rates it seems like a good choice.
What Is the Right Dental Implant Procedure for You?
During your dental implant consultation we will talk about your options and help you decide which is best for you.