New Studies Focus on Increasing Dental Implant Success

New Studies Focus on Increasing Dental Implant Success

While the vast majority of patients who undergo dental implant procedures experience great results, nothing, not even dental implants, is 100 percent effective for all patients. The overall success rate for dental implants is 90 to 95 percent which is an excellent track record that produces amazing results for many people. Considering more than half a million people getting at least one dental implant each year, dental implants should be considered an overwhelming success.

But what about the five to ten percent of patients who don’t have a good outcome with their implants? Much of these problems are due to mechanical issues, infection, rejection by the body, or a poor connection of the implant to the jawbone. New studies are taking a look at how to increase success rates for more patients who seek dental implants.

Reducing Peri-Implantitis

Reducing Peri-ImplantitisOne of the main reasons for dental implant failure is something called peri-implantitis. It’s an inflammation that can cause damage to the gums and other tissues surrounding an implant, as well as pain. Peri-implantitis is caused by germs and bacteria in the mouth surrounding the implant to form a “biofilm.” Once attached to the implant, infections, other problems, and ultimately failure of the implant follow.

A research team of scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth joined forces to solve this problem through the study of “nanocoatings.” By finding appropriate substances and putting them on dental implants, it was thought this could be a way to reduce the chances of peri-implantitis forming on implants.

Through their research, the team created nanocoatings made of titanium oxide, silver, and hydroxyapatite. By combining these three substances and adding them to the surface of dental implants, they were able to effectively inhibit and reduce bacteria growth. Overall, the growth that causes peri-implantitis was reduced by 97.5 percent. This nanocoating didn’t just inhibit bacterial growth, it also created a surface with anti-biofilm properties that helped the bone heal faster and better.

Medications that Help and Harm Dental Implants

Medications that Help and Harm Dental ImplantsAnother reason for dental implant failure occurs when the titanium rods refuse to attach properly to the bone. Dental implant success depends greatly on whether your bone will accept this foreign body. A research team from the McGill Faculty of Dentistry decided to look at which, if any, medications help or harm this bone attachment.

As part of their study, they looked results from more than 700 dental implant procedures as well as studies performed on rats. They discovered one drug that may help dental implant attachment and one that may lead to problems later.

Beta blockers taken for hypertension appear to aid in the body’s acceptance of dental implants. The failure rate of implants for people taking beta blockers was 0.6 percent. For those who do not take beta blockers, the failure rate of their implants was 4.1 percent. In terms of statistical analysis, this is a big difference.

Heartburn medication, something a lot of people take on a regular basis, has the opposite effect on dental implants. The failure rate for those taking heartburn medication was 6.8 percent, while the rate for those who don’t was only 3.2 percent – less than half. It was already known that heartburn medicine reduces calcium absorption in bones. After this study, the next step is to learn what the right dosages and time periods for taking heartburn medicines should be for patients seeking dental implants.


While dental implant procedures are a great option for the vast majority of people, there is always room for improvement. Finding ways and methods that allow more people to replace missing or bad teeth with implants is a positive step in the right direction. Some of these findings may take a while to trickle down into the procedure room, but dental studies are headed in the right direction.

Just because you take heartburn medicine doesn’t mean you’re automatically a bad candidate for dental implants and taking beta blockers doesn’t guarantee success. It’s important to discuss your entire medical history with a qualified dental professional to assess your risk. As the science and technology behind dental implants continue to improve, your chances of success will go up, and you may become a better candidate over time.