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Natural teeth last longer than implants

2 October 2013

Natural teeth last longer than implants

Patients should hang onto problem teeth as long as possible rather than getting dental implants, a new literature review suggests.

The review, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, found that 15-year tooth loss rates range from 3.6 per cent to 13.4 per cent, whereas implant loss rates range from nought per cent to 33 per cent.

Some clinicians recommend dental implants as an alternative to treating severely diseased teeth, however the researchers note that even teeth classified as ‘hopeless’ may survive, especially if periodontal treatment address the underlying problem.

“The results of this systematic review show that implant survival rates do not exceed those of compromised but adequately treated and maintained teeth, supporting the notion that the decision to extract a tooth and place a dental implant should be made cautiously,” the authors write.

It was found that more conical implants had higher stresses than did cylindrical and screw-shaped implants, and textured implants had better outcomes than those with machined surfaces. Implants were more likely to fail in patients with periodontitis-related tooth loss, in those who smoked, and in those with diabetes mellitus, a history of radiotherapy, or impaired bone quality.

“In light of the above review, the decision to retain properly treated and maintained teeth for as long as possible seems to provide an overall solution that can reduce the treatment risks over the long term,” they conclude.

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