Good implants come from professional training and experience, see how much difference this makes to longevity.
How long implants last is a rational question before choosing them, yet there isn’t one answer. The honest response is that implants should last for life, although there are factors to consider in assessing this.
The ultimate goal of dentistry is to ensure people keep their teeth and in a sense, implants are part of this. They are of course replacements but added in a way which is quite close to the method nature uses.
This means they can be affected by the same issues as your original teeth. Accidents can remove teeth, or implants, as can oral disease, in the same way that not all of us are born with identical teeth, implants vary in standard.
Research has backed up the latter point. A study in China found that people in poorer areas saw a 20 year loss of over 14%, whereas those more likely to receive good quality implants and ongoing care averaged 3.5%.
Research Value & Caveats
A significant factor to be aware of is that implants have changed over time, in terms of materials, standard of engineering and biological method.
Initially, they tended to rely on fibroosseous integration, fibrous tissue developing between the implant and adjacent bone. The modern approach of root replication and true bone integration (osseointegration) is far superior.
This can mean that the implants being reviewed in long term research do not use the same approach you would receive today and almost certainly will be lower in terms of functionality, or manufacturing standard.
Independent research validates this view. Those looking at 6, or 7 year periods frequently report survival rates over 95%, those we have seen going back beyond 20 years come up with an average of 82%.
Whilst the passage of time may appear a factor, research suggests otherwise. There is more going on, as there would be for any form of advanced medical care.
One long term study compared implants performed by specialists, where the survival rate was 95.5%, with those from inexperienced practitioners, survival rate 74%. This type of data has been replicated elsewhere.
Whilst not so much information exists to compare types of bone integration, an extended piece of research we saw did help. This gave figures of 90% for the modern approach and 76% for the older method.
Offering A Clearer View
Dental implants are a well researched field and you may feel that an answer to how long they last should be definitive. Picking a time scale and figure is in reality not that easy but accidents apart, there is clarity.
If implants are of high quality and put in place at a clinic where dental implants are a specialty, they should last as long as, or longer than your own teeth.
That slight remaining caveat is because implants to a degree rely on oral health, as your own teeth and gums do. Choosing well made implants and an experienced surgeon will reduce the likelihood of issues but you still need to look after your teeth.
The good news is that most people who have dental implants do look after their teeth. In part protecting an investment but largely because they like the smile and confidence their implants give them.
Our clinic is committed to long term care, alongside a high standard of implant treatment. If we can offer any support, or advice, please get in touch at any time.