Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 18 (2003), No. 4 15. July 2003
Purpose: The treatment of patients with early or immediately loaded dental implants has renewed interest in the behavior of osteoblasts at the implant surface under load. A newly designed dental implant indicated for immediate loading was tested in vivo for early stages of osteoblast behavior at the implant surface.
Materials and Methods: Thirty-two implants were placed in the mandibles of 8 minipigs. Half of the implants (n = 16) were immediately loaded under occlusal contacts, and implants placed in non-occlusal relations served as a control.
Results: All implants, except 1 that showed signs of tissue infection, healed uneventfully and were stable throughout the experimental period. Ultrastructural analysis of mandibular specimens revealed an intimate attachment of osteoblasts to the material surface beginning as early as day 1. Application of either occlusal or non-occlusal load did not alter the phenotypic morphology of the attached osteoblasts. Transmission electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction analysis demonstrated a direct contact of bone-like minerals over the whole implant surface with no signs of crestal hard tissue alteration. Electron diffraction analysis showed a slight release of titanium from the implant side.
Discussion: These results indicate that immediate loading of specially designed dental implants can be performed without disruption of the titanium/bone interface or disturbance of osteoblast physiology in the early loading phase.
Conclusion: Immediate loading protocols can be performed without disturbance of normal bone biology.