Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 25 (2010), No. 1 15. Jan. 2010
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine patient responses to load application on natural teeth and implants using a visual analog scale (VAS).
Materials and Methods: Ten subjects were selected from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey patient pool who had a single implant-supported crown restoration adjacent to a natural tooth. Vibrational loads of 0.2 N, 0.4 N, and 0.6 N were applied to the tooth and implant-supported crown. The VAS was used to measure the magnitude of sensation. Patient responses were recorded in sets of five alternating paired trials and analyzed for differences in the responses to teeth and implant-supported crowns.
Results: Patients were able to discriminate between loads to implants and natural teeth 100% of the time (P <= .01). The responses to loading of the implant were less strong than those to loading of the natural tooth 100% of the time (P <= .01). However, the VAS score ratios between implant and natural tooth consistently increased with an increase in load.
Conclusion: Although periodontal ligament receptors are lacking in the periimplant area, patients appear to have some proprioceptive awareness of implant loading. This awareness becomes more similar to that of natural teeth as the vibrational load is increased.
Keywords: dental implants, proprioception, sensation, teeth