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Volume 18 , Issue 2
March/April 2003

Pages 250–257

Immediate Functional Loading of Brånemark System Implants in Edentulous Mandibles: Clinical Report of the Results of Developmental and Simplified Protocols

Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD/ Thomas J. Balshi, DDS1/Bo Rangert, PhD

PMID: 12705304

Purpose: This report evaluates the 5-year results of 9 of 10 patients in a clinical investigation of immediate functional loading of Brånemark System implants in edentulous mandibles, and of 24 patients treated with a simplified protocol for the same indication. The purpose of the paper is to suggest a simple, reliable, and documented method for immediate implant loading of complete-arch mandibular prostheses. Materials and Methods: Ten healthy patients in need of full-arch mandibular implant reconstruction (development group) were treated between December 1993 and December 1994 with 130 Brånemark System standard implants, placed in fresh extraction and healed sites. Four implants per patient were immediately loaded with acrylic resin fixed prostheses. The prostheses were replaced by metal-framework conversion prostheses approximately 6 weeks later, and definitive metal-reinforced prostheses incorporating all implants were placed after second-stage surgery. An additional 24 patients were treated with a simplified protocol using a total of 144 implants placed between March 1997 and October 2000. In these patients, the acrylic resin prostheses were not disturbed for 3 months, and fewer implants were used with an increasing ratio of implants loaded. Eventually, all implants were loaded immediately for the last patients treated. Results: The prosthesis survival rate was 100% for the total material. In the developmental group, the implant cumulative survival rate was 80% for the immediately loaded implants after 5 years, while the 2-stage implants reached 96%. Bone level measurements showed no differences between immediate and 2-stage protocols for this group. The implant cumulative survival rate was 97% for the simplified treatment group. Discussion and Conclusion: A predictable and simple concept for loading of immediate implant prostheses in edentulous mandibles was demonstrated. Results from the development of this technique suggest that it may be essential to maintain the initial implant splinting over a healing period of about 3 months and that implant placement between the mental foramina provides optimal support. (INT J ORAL MAXILLOFAC IMPLANTS 2003;18:250–257)

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