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International Journal of Oral Implantology



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Int J Oral Implantol 2 (2009), No. 1     23. Apr. 2009
Int J Oral Implantol 2 (2009), No. 1  (23.04.2009)

Page 7-20, PubMed:20467615

Vertical bone augmentation versus 7-mm-long implants in posterior atrophic mandibles. Results of a randomised controlled clinical trial of up to 4 months after loading
Felice, Pietro / Cannizzaro, Gioacchino / Checchi, Vittorio / Marchetti, Claudio / Pellegrino, Gerardo / Censi, Paolo / Esposito, Marco
Purpose: To evaluate whether 7-mm-long implants could be a suitable alternative to longer implants placed in vertically augmented bone for the treatment of atrophic posterior mandibles.
Materials and methods: Sixty partially edentulous patients having 7 to 8 mm of residual crestal height and at least 5.5 mm thickness measured on a computed tomography scan above the mandibular canal were randomised to receive either two to three submerged 7-mm-long NanoTite External Hex implants (Biomet 3i) or 10-mm or longer implants (30 patients per group) placed in vertically augmented bone. Bone was augmented with anorganic bovine bone blocks (Bio-Oss) using a sandwich technique and resorbable barriers. The grafts were left healing for 5 months before placing the implants, which were submerged. Four months after implant placement, provisional acrylic prostheses were delivered. Definitive screw-retained metal-ceramic prostheses were delivered 4 months later. Outcome measures were: prosthesis and implant failures, any complications, and time needed to fully recover mental nerve sensitivity. All patients were followed up to the delivery of the final restorations (4 months after loading).
Results: No patient dropped out. In two patients of the augmented group, there was not enough space to place 10-mm or longer implants as planned and 7-mm-long implants were used instead. The most likely reason for this is that the Bio-Oss blocks fractured in many pieces at placement. One prosthesis could not be placed when planned in the 7-mm group versus three prostheses in the augmented group, because of failure of one implant in each patient. The difference was not statistically significant. All implants were successfully replaced and final prostheses delivered. Four complications (wound dehiscence) occurred during graft healing in the augmented group (one possibly associated with the failure of one implant) versus none in the 7-mm-long implant group. The difference was not statistically significant. No patient suffered from permanent paraesthesia of the alveolar inferior nerve; however, sensitivity was recovered significantly faster in the short implant group.
Conclusions: The early results of this study suggest that, when the residual bone height over the mandibular canal is between 7 and 8 mm, 7-mm short implants might be a preferable choice since the treatment is faster, cheaper and associated with less morbidity than vertical bone augmentation. These preliminary results must be confirmed by follow-ups of 5 years or more in order to monitor the performance of short implants over time.

Keywords: bone augmentation, bovine anorganic bone, inlay graft, short dental implants, vertical augmentation