Replacing Toothless Smiles Now Easier

Shorter dental implants have successful survival rates and are a less invasive surgery

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Losing your baby teeth is fine. More teeth are coming in. But when you're older, you may not want a toothless smile.

Dental implants are usually made of titanium. But they look like real teeth. The implants have roots that connect  to the jaw bone. The shorter the roots, the easier the surgery is.

People have gotten dental implants for many years. In the past, these implants had much longer roots, which made surgeries more invasive.

A recent study found that shorter implants have good survival rates. This finding may mean dental implant patients have more options.  

"Talk to your dentist about teeth implant options."

Sarah Gray, DDS, of Office of Graduate Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, led the study to determine if shorter dental implants are a good option for replacing missing teeth.

Sometimes the implants don't want to stay attached to the jaw bone. Infection can also hurt the implants' chances of staying in.

The study reviewed research published from 1980 to 2009. The researchers looked at information about the two-year survival rates of short implants. A total of 1,352 studies were included in this study. From these studies, 2,611 patients had short implants inserted and were followed for an average of 3.7 years. 

The study looked at the size of the shorter implants, whether the implant was placed in the upper or lower jaw, if the implant was smooth or rough and if the implant required jawbone work. The researchers also looked at whether the implant patient smoked.

Results showed that the two-year survival rate for implants measuring 5 millimeters was 93.1 percent. For implants measuring between 6.0 and 9.5 millimeters, the survival rate was 97.4 percent.

Smokers had less success with keeping their implants in. There was no difference in survival rates for the roughness of the implant or if the jaw bone needed work.

The study had some limitations. Some of the implants were removed because the patient didn't like them, not because something was wrong with it. Also, some patients received more than one implant. Results may not be generalizable to patients getting only one implant.

This study, titled "Success of short implants in patients who are partially edentulous," was published in The Journal of the American Dental Association. Dr. Gray disclosed no conflict of interest.

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Review Date: 
January 15, 2013
Last Updated:
January 17, 2013