Abstract

The completely edentulous maxilla remains a challenge in implant dentistry. Conventional two-stage surgical techniques require two independent invasive surgeries separated by a 5–6-month healing period. In addition, an increased risk of trauma to the implant–bone interface may be caused by a removable transitional complete denture during the interim submerged period, which can compromise implant success or increase crestal bone loss around the implants during initial bone healing. The purpose of this clinical trial was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of immediately loading a fixed implant-supported prosthesis without bone augmentation in moderately to severely resorbed, completely edentulous maxillae. Over a 41-month period, 783 titanium implants (627 laterally inserted disk implants, with or without 156 axially inserted Structure implants) were placed in 72 consecutive patients with completely edentulous maxillae using an immediate loading protocol. After 6 months of function, the fixed restorations were removed and each implant status was verified using radiographs, Periotest evaluations, clinical osseointegration criteria, and torque testing at 20 N-cm. Six months postoperatively, 98% of the implants were radiologically and clinically osseointegrated. Fifty-six gold screws (7%) required retightening after 10 months, but no screw fractures occurred during this study period. The postrestorative follow-up of these patients ranged from 6 to 48 months. As of this report, all of the fixed prostheses remain functional, and no additional implants have been lost. This clinical trial demonstrates that immediate loading of nonsubmerged, laterally inserted disk-design implants may provide adequate primary anchorage and long-term osseointegration in completely edentulous maxillae. The initial multicortical anchorage afforded by the disk-design implant in this study, coupled with biomechanical splinting of the disks (sometimes with more traditional root-form design implants) using a rigid prosthesis, permits a one-stage predictable implant procedure offering rapid restoration of patients to masticatory function.

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