Dental implants are the tooth replacement that is most like your natural teeth. They look like natural teeth. They bite like natural teeth. And you care for them just like natural teeth: brush, floss, and make your regular dental visits.
But dental implants have some of the same weaknesses as natural teeth, too. Although dental implants don’t get cavities like natural teeth do, gum disease can develop around them. Just like natural teeth, gum disease is the leading cause of implant loss.
A new study has good news, though. Gum disease might be less common with implant dentures than it is with natural teeth, meaning that more people are likely to have their implants longer.
Twelve Years of Implant Dentures
For this study, researchers looked at 71 implant-supported fixed complete dentures in 52 patients. The dentures were divided into two groups. Group 1 had full ceramic dentures, while group 2 had dentures that were a combination of metal and resin. They followed implant denture patients for 1-12 years, with an average of about 5.2 years of follow-up.
Overall, the implants were very successful. The mean survival rate was 98.7%, with only six dental implants failing. None of the implants failed at less than five years after implantation. However, when the implants failed, it did sometimes affect the implant dentures.
Low Rates of Gum Disease
Researchers looked at some less serious complications, too, mostly related to gum disease. They looked at gum recession, inflammation under the denture, and gum disease around the implant (called peri-implantitis, just like periodontitis is gum disease around a tooth). Gum recession around the implant is known to be common, and in this study, it affected more than three-quarters of the implants. Inflammation related to the implant denture was also common, affecting about the same proportion of implant dentures. But true gum disease only affected about 10% of implants.
That is much lower than the gum disease rate of natural teeth. Overall, about half of Americans have some degree of gum disease. Even allowing that gum disease might continue to increase every year, implants would have to be in 25 years before reaching that level of gum disease.
Dental Implants: High Success, High Function, Low Risk
This study is just another proof that dental implants and implant dentures are very successful and last a long time. This isn’t even the longest study of implant dentures. Some studies of implant dentures have lasted 30 years, and the results are very similar. It was small, but it showed 100% survival rate of the implants, and 80% survival rate for the dentures.
Studies also show, though, that the success of your implants also depends on your dentist. When you are looking for an implant dentist in Rockland county, make sure you choose one with training and experience.
Dr. Mark Dunayer has focused training on dental implants, including an implant externship at Brookdale Hospital. He has been serving Rockland County for 30 years, with 20 in Nanuet and 10 here in West Nyack.
To learn more about Dr. Dunayer’s experience and expertise in implant dentures, please call (845) 627-7645 today for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence.