Implant success and bone grafts

When teeth are removed, the bone that was supporting the teeth will often slowly melt away until there is insufficient bone remaining into which to place implants. This missing bone can often be restored with a bone graft, a simple procedure using a small piece of bone obtained from the back of the lower jaw.

To test whether there is a difference in success rates between implants placed in “native” bone (the patient’s original bone) or grafted bone, researchers at the University of Texas reviewed 1,222 patients receiving 2,729 implants between 1985 and 2012.  They concluded there was no difference in the dental implant survival rates when implants were placed in native bone or bone-grafted sites.

However they identified two important factors that did contribute to long term implant loss. The first was cigarette smoking and the second was lack of professional maintenance.

Implants require good maintenance for long term success. This involves regular checks by the patient’s dentist to ensure good oral hygiene, and to check at least annually for development of pockets and early bone loss around implants.

Tran DT, Gay IC, Diaz-Rodriguez J, Parthsarasay K, Weltman R, Friedman L. Survival of dental implants placed in grafted and non-grafted bone: a retrospective study in a University setting. International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants. 2016, 31:310-7.