Dental implants are a great investment for replacing lost teeth. Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants are very long-lasting. In fact, they have the ability to last a lifetime. Studies have verified that they can last decades, and often long-term follow-up studies are limited by the fact that people don’t live as long as their implants last. Individuals have had dental implants in place and functioning for over 50 years!
But sometimes people raise concerns about dental implants, as if they may not last as long as expected. For example, a recent study claimed that dental implants commonly have flaws that can lead to implant fracture.
However, the risk of dental implant fractures is very small. And a new study shows just how small the fracture risk of dental implants is.
Fractures Are One-in-a-Thousand Events
A new retrospective study looked closely at the question of how often dental implants actually fracture. The study looked at dental implants placed in two different implant centers, which placed a total of 18,700 dental implants over the course of the study period. These implants only experienced 37 fractures, or a fracture rate of 0.2%, about 2 in 1000. Using the length of follow-up, researchers calculated the expected failure rate over the first year as 0.38 per 1000. For five years, the fracture risk increased to 1.46 per 1000. But it still remains a very small risk.
Although microscopic examination may have revealed tiny flaws in many dental implants, this doesn’t seem to manifest as a fracture risk.
Which Implants Are More Likely to Fracture?
When researchers looked at which implants had fractured, they found that the location of the implant made a big difference in the fracture risk. About 95% of fractured dental implants had been placed in the molar area, where they are subjected to the strongest forces.
It also seems that implants secured to screw-retained crowns had an elevated fracture risk.
Neuromuscular Dentistry Can Protect Your Implants
Dental implants have a very low risk of fracture, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to reduce that risk still further.
One of the things you can do to help protect your dental implants is to work with a neuromuscular dentist. Your neuromuscular dentist can help balance the forces in your mouth so that none of your dental implants are subjected to excessive force. This helps reduce the fracture risk.