It’s one of the supposed benefits of dental implants. Anchored in the jawbone, they theoretically could last for the rest of your life. But do they, really?

Long-term studies show that most people keep their implants longer than any study that’s yet been performed. As far as we know, dental implants really can last indefinitely.

Long-Term Success of Dental Implants

mature adult woman smiling with teethWhen looking at something that might last forever, it’s hard to get studies that adequately capture the full picture. Long-term follow-up is hard because patients move, lose their commitment to the study, and even, in some cases related to this population, die before follow-up can be completed. Still, research has been conducted with dental implants that have been in place 10, 14, and even 16 years.

A ten-year follow-up study looked at 112 implants in 53, 8 of whom had a history of gum disease. This study reported a 90% survival rate for patients with gum disease, but 97% for patients without.

The largest of the studies, a 14-year follow-up study looked at 1057 dental implants in 218 patients. The reported survival rate was 96%, and, like the study above, found that a few patients accounted for most of the failures. They said eight patients lost more than one implant each, which means that at a minimum 4% of patients accounted for 36% of failures. Again, gum disease was to blame. Patients who saw multiple failures had significant bone loss around their natural teeth before their dental implants were placed.

The longest study, with a 16-year follow-up, looked at 131 dental implants in 55 patients. The reported survival rate was 82.9%, which seems low. But they compared their ten-year survival rates with other studies and said that they were statistically comparable. Again, there’s a disparity between patients with and without gum disease. They reported this disparity at ten years as a lower survival rate for implants in patients with gum disease (85%) than for those without (90%).

How Long Will Your Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants aren’t magic. They are medical procedures with a high success rate, but not 100% success. And they do become more likely to fail with time. But with proper care and in the right person, they can last a very long time, and by the end of each of these studies, most people still had all their implants in place and functional.

Based on these studies, a person without a history of gum disease has a very high chance (90% or more) of getting ten years’ life out of their dental implants, and pretty good odds of getting much, much more than that. A person with a history of gum disease has a lower chance, but with appropriate care, even poor candidates can get success with dental implants.

Want to learn what kind of results you can get with dental implants in Orange County? Please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment with an implant dentist at Rice Dentistry.