Background: Research into immediate-loading protocols has shown encouraging results. The evaluation of an immediate-loading technique would require a quantitative method for the measurement of implant stability. Resonance frequency analysis (RFA) is emerging as a non-invasive tool for the clinician to assess primary stability of the newly placed implant. Nonetheless, so far, little evidence is available in the literature and no gold standard for the evaluation of implant stability exists that could be used for comparison.
Objective: To evaluate the evidence available in the literature regarding resonance frequency analysis for the determination of primary stability with regard to its utility in decision-making in immediateloading protocols.
Materials and methods: An initial electronic database search (PubMed) was performed to identify articles related to resonance frequency analysis published or accepted for publication from 1996 to April 2007. Next, a manual search was performed throughout the most relevant journals that specialise in implant dentistry. Finally, an additional search was made through the references of the selected articles. The selection of articles, extraction of data, and assessment of validity were made independently by two reviewers.
Results: A total of 37 articles were selected for data extraction. Data regarding advantages and limitations of RFA and factors influencing primary stability was extracted from each paper. No randomised controlled trials were found in the literature; thus, all study designs were accepted. Due to the heterogeneous methodology, a meta-analysis could not be performed.
Conclusions: RFA may help the clinician to choose among various loading protocols and to selectively monitor implants during the healing phase. However, the biological parameters that may be represented by the implant stability quotient value are still not fully understood. There is a lack of consistency in the evidence analysed, thus drawing attention to the need for more methodologically acceptable studies.
Keywords: dental implants, immediate loading, resonance frequency analysis, review