In the near future toothless patients will no longer have to wait several months for ordinary titanium implants to heal. Nearly every one of 450 patients who had bridges anchored in their implants had immediate success. Most patients who have titanium implants in their mouth have to wait between four and seven months before the implant is considered stable enough for crowns or bridges to be secured in the screw.
This is reported in a dissertation from the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden. “Many people feel physically and psychologically handicapped by their toothlessness, and it would mean a great deal to patients if they didn’t have to wait so long for the treatment to be completed," says Pär-Olov Östman, the dentist who authored the dissertation.
The studies used the same type of dental implants that normally need to heal properly before they can be loaded. A total of 457 patients had bridges anchored in their implants within 24 hours of receiving the implant. When the patients were followed up more than a year after treatment, 98 percent of all direct-loaded implants in the lower jaw were successful. In upper jaws that were previously completely toothless, 99 percent of the treatments succeeded.
“To attain such results the dentist has to do a good job, and there are several factors to take into consideration before choosing to immediately load the implant. I would say that several more years of research is needed before directly loaded implants can be the normal treatment for toothlessness," says Pär-Olov Östman.
All types of dental implants are not suitable for direct loading, however. For patients who received Nobel Direct implants, many of the treatments failed.
There are patients who cannot take a direct-load implant. The dissertation shows that these patients can be given an extra temporary implant that is smaller and narrower than the permanent one and can be used to secure prostheses while the permanent implant heals. Pär-Olov Östman also developed a rapid method for dentists to create temporary bridges on implants in the mouth.
“It takes only a half hour for the dentist to create a temporary bridge. It’s fast, and it’s a lot cheaper for the patient than the robust bridges that dental laboratories produce, but they don’t hold up quite as well," says Pär-Olov Östman.
Facts about dental implants
The implant is a kind of artificial tooth root made of titanium. The titanium screw is operated into the jawbone and heals there for use as an anchor for crowns, bridges, and prostheses. The method was devised by Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark at the Sahlgrenska Academy in the 1960s. There are several types of titanium fixtures, but they are all based on the fact that titanium metal has the unique capacity to integrate with bone.
Title of dissertation: On various protocols for direct loading of implant-supported fixed prostheses. The dissertation will be publicly defended on December 21 at Göteborg University.
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