Loss of Preload in Screwed Implant Joints as a Function of Time and Tightening/Untightening Sequences
Sérgio Rocha Bernardes, BDS, MSc, PhD/Maria da Gloria Chiarello de Mattos, BDS, MSc, PhD/John Hobkirk, BDS, MSc, PhD/Ricardo Faria Ribeiro, BDS, MSc, PhD
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether abutment screw tightening and untightening influenced loss of preload in three different implant/abutment interfaces, or on the implant body. Materials and Methods: Five custom-fabricated machined titanium implants were used, each with its respective abutment, with different connection types, retention screws, and torque values (external hexagon with titanium screw/32 Ncm, external hexagon with coated screw/32 Ncm, internal hexagon/20 Ncm and internal conical/20 and 32 Ncm). Each implant tested had two strain gauges attached and was submitted to five tightening/untightening sequences. Results: External hexagons resulted in the lowest preload values generated in the implant cervical third (mean of 27.75 N), while the internal hexagon had the highest values (mean of 219.61 N). Conclusions: There was no immediate significant loss of preload after screw tightening. Tightening/untightening sequences, regardless of the implant/abutment interface design or type of screw used in the study, did not result in any significant loss of initial preload. Conical implant connections demonstrated greater structural reinforcement within the internal connections.