Many people who want dental implants qualify as good candidates, but what if you are told you need a bone graft for your implants? Will that make your dental implants not only more expensive, but also more prone to fail?
A new study says that the survival rates for dental implants with and without a bone graft are statistically similar, but this is still a concern, and it reminds us that we should consider options that don’t require a bone graft — such as All-on-4 implant dentures — when possible.
Extensive Bone Grafts
This study looked only at dental implants placed in pure native bone compared to those placed following a separate bone graft procedure. Excluded from the study were bone grafts done to preserve the socket at the same time as the implant was placed. The study was large in terms of patients, implants, and in time. Over 1200 patients who received over 2700 dental implants from 1985 to 2012 were included in the study.
The five year survival rate for implants placed in natural bone was 92%, compared to only 90% for implants placed with bone graft. Ten year survival rates were much lower, only 87% for implants placed in native bone without any grafting and 79% for implants placed with a bone graft.
Two things to note. First, this is much lower than most survival rates we’ve seen in long-term studies, which are typically much higher than 90% at ten years and in some cases as high as 93% at 17 years.
Second, although the survival rate is much lower for implants placed with a bone graft, researchers said the difference was not statistically significant. The lack of significance might be related to the fact that most implants were placed toward the end of the study and had short follow-up times, which means that the statistical accuracy of the 10-year survival rate is not very good.
Researchers linked failure to other factors, however. They found that patients who followed a professional maintenance program lowered their risk of implant failure by 80%, while smokers increased their risk of failure by 2.6 times.
All-on-4 Can Help Avoid Bone Grafts
Looking at the survival rates in this study might make you want to try to avoid bone grafts for your future dental implant procedures. And other studies have found even higher risks related to bone grafts, showing they might be associated with a 5 times higher rate of implant failure.
Although it’s not always possible to avoid bone grafts with dental implants, we are happy to offer an option that can let you replace all your teeth without the need for a bone graft in most cases. The All-on-4 implant denture is a remarkable dental implant technology that uses engineering to maximize your native bone. Most people who get All-on-4 dentures don’t need a bone graft.