Survivorship bias and its implications in dental research and literature


  • Leanne Sykes Head of Department of Prosthodontics, University of Pretoria
  • George P Babiolakis Department of Prosthodontics, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Londiwe V Mkhonza Developmental post, Dentist, Department of Prosthodontics, University of Pretoria



postulated, aesthetics


What does the Texan sharpshooter, the World War 2 American air force, The Taj Mahal, cherry farming, and dentistry have in common? They have all been the subject of Survivorship bias. This paper will discuss the concept of survivorship bias in research by using examples of flaws in study designs or interpretation of data. It aims to serve as a caution to practitioners of the need to be aware and critical when reading literature and manufacturers' reports before making decisions regarding materials choices and treatment protocols to follow


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Anusavice, K., Rawls, R., Esquivel-Upshaw, J. and Shen, C., 2012. Phillips' science of dental materials. 12th ed. Elseiver, pp.1-592.

Anusavice KJ. Standardizing failure, success, and survival decisions in clinical studies of ceramic and metal-ceramic fixed dental prostheses. Dent Mater.2012 Jan; 28(1):102-111

Chércoles-Ruiz, A., Sánchez-Torres, A. and GayEscoda, C., 2017. Endodontics, Endodontic Retreatment, and Apical Surgery Versus Tooth

Extraction and Implant Placement: A Systematic Review. Journal of Endodontics, 43(5), pp.679-686.

Schnitman PA, Shulman LB. Recommendations of the consensus 8. development conference on dental implants. J Am Dent Assoc 9. 1979;98:373 7.

Cranin AN, Silverbrand H, Sher J, Salter N. The requirements and 10. clinical performance of dental implants. In: Smith DC, Williams DF, 11. editors. Biocompatibility of Dental Materials. Vol. 4. Boca Figure 3. American World War 2 aircraft (Reproduced from Mangel and Samaniego al.9)Raton, Fla: 12. CRC Press; 1982. pp. 198. 5.

McKinney R, Koth DL, St and k DE. Clinical standards for dental 13. implants. In: Clark JW, editor. Clinical Dentistry. Harperstown: Harper 14. and Row; 1984.pp. 1 11.

Batth RK. What is the difference between implant success and survival and how will it change the future use of implants as a permanent solution to tooth loss? 2014. A Boston University Theses & Dissertations. Accessed at:; Accessed on: 18-


LM Sykes, F Gani, Z Vally. Statistical terms Part 1: The meaning of the MEAN, and other statistical terms commonly used in medical research. SADJ, July 2016, Vol 71 (6) 274-278.

Mangel, M. and Samaniego, F., 1984. Abraham Wald's Work on Aircraft Survivability: Rejoinder. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 79(386):270.

Pandi, N., 2014. Bias in observational studies. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 145:542-543.

Layton, D., 2013. Understanding Kaplan-Meier and Survival Statistics. The International Journal of Prosthodontics, 26(3), pp.218-226




How to Cite

Sykes, L., Babiolakis, G. P., & Mkhonza, L. V. . (2022). Survivorship bias and its implications in dental research and literature. South African Dental Journal, 77(01), 39–42.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>