A dental implant may seem like an exotic option for many dental patients but in truth, implant-based restorations are becoming an increasingly popular and valid choice for those patients suffering from tooth loss – but just how successful are dental implants?
Here’s what we know so far
Dental implants were first placed into a human patient back in 1965. So contrary to popular belief, they aren’t a new concept. Those first implants were still functioning right up until the patient’s death in 2006, some 4 decades later. So we can say with some certainty that dental implants have been proven to last for 40 years.
The issue with this statement is that it won’t be the case for every patient. Instead, there are a whole bunch of factors that can and do affect the longevity (success rates) of dental implants. These range from the ongoing dental habits and/or lifestyle choices of the implant patient, their oral health during the treatment period and the quality of the implant placed during dental implant surgery.
But, how successful are dental implants on average?
Statistics show that over 90% of dental implants made using high-quality resources are successful. By ‘successful’, we mean that a typical dental implant patient should enjoy 10+ years of uninterrupted, hassle-free use. Over 80% of recipients will enjoy 16 years or more given the right circumstances and only 5% of dental implants are unsuccessful. This is a dental implant that for whatever reason has failed.
Factors to take into consideration
A dental implant is made to last. Once anchored into position after dental implant surgery implants are designed to withstand somewhere between 80% and 90% of the bite pressure of normal teeth. This allows patients to eat and chew normally without having to restrict their diet. However, they are also prone to many of the issues that destroy natural teeth.
Issues include gum disease and bacterial concerns which is why a good standard of ongoing oral home care is so important. In addition, a dental implant can also fall foul of a host of behavioural issues such as teeth grinding (bruxism) or unconscious teeth clenching as well as lifestyle choices such as smoking or drug-taking. Even medications such as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) or popular anti-depressants such as Prozac or Zoloft can also pose a risk to dental implants.
So how can you best ensure dental implant success?
First and foremost, you need to be a good candidate. By this, we mean that patients need to be in good oral health – no gum disease and no extensive bone loss.
If this isn’t the case then before any dental implant surgery takes place, issues that may affect dental implant success will need to be dealt with first.
Treatments like restoring lost bone using the latest bone grafting procedures or treating periodontal (gum) disease using contemporary root planing or periodontal surgery techniques are often used. But also, if a patient has underlying medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, then assistance may be sought to help you bring the problem under control.
In essence, even though it may seem like a lot of hassle and added expense, what is happening is the creation of an ‘even playing field’ for your dental implants. This ensures that once in position, they stand a better chance of long-term stability in the mouth.
But what about from a patient perspective – is there anything that you can do to ensure greater dental implant success?
Dental implants require the same due diligence and care as your natural teeth. Therefore, after dental implant surgery, commitment to a proper long-term cleaning regimen is among the greatest aids that you can bring to ensure better long-term success. The best results are always shown in those who conscientiously practise sound dental (and general) health habits.
Another factor that may play a part in answering the question ‘how successful are dental implants’ is through your choice of dentist. An implant dentist who has a record of reliable long-term results is key to your success.
While the procedure itself boasts a success rate well in excess of 90%, that’s not to say that every implant dentist achieves that. A dental professional that thoroughly checks your medical records, meticulously plans your treatment and adjusts their surgical approach according to their findings, is vital in tipping the scales towards the probability of a better treatment outcome.
So do your homework and look for an experienced dental implant dentist who can provide you with the best treatment that meets your unique cosmetic and oral health needs.
The final step you can take is to ensure high-quality dental implants are used. By high-quality dental implants, we mean branded implants that have a history of long-term success. Some newer generic implants don’t have that history of success and in many cases, long-term survival rates simply aren’t available. While it’s true that different procedures and implants are right for different patients, a consultation with a highly experienced implant dentist will typically yield the best results.
Hopefully, we have answered the question ‘how successful are dental implants?’ and also given you important information on how you can affect the longevity of an implant before and after dental implant surgery.
If you have a missing tooth or teeth and feel that you want to take advantage of a dental implant restoration, then we invite you to talk to the team at the Digital Dental Implants Institute. We provide the latest digital dental implant techniques carried out by highly skilled implant dentists in our state-of-the-art dental centre in Sydney.
Call today for a consultation to see how we can help you.