Purpose: To evaluate the clinical outcome of implants placed into sites grafted with bioactive glass.
Materials and Methods: Seventeen consecutively treated patients were referred to a private specialist surgical practice for the repair of dentoalveolar defects, and/or ridge maintenance at the site of extraction sockets, prior to implantation. Bioactive glass available in 1 of 2 forms was utilized as an alloplastic grafting material. Bone cores were trephined out at the time of implantation and processed and examined to evaluate the tissue response under the light microscope. Implant mobility, marginal bone levels, and soft tissue health were all evaluated over a 2- to 3-year follow-up period to determine treatment success.
Results: A total of 40 Astra Tech dental implants were placed. The overall sucess rate at the end of the study was 88.6% for implants that were in function for a mean period of 29.2 months (22 to 24 months). One patient with 5 successful implants died at 18 months after functional loading. At that time the cumulative success rate was 90%. Another patient who was diagnosed with cancer of the large bowel lost 3 implants. If this patient were excluded from the data, the cumulative success rate increases to 96.8%. Mean marginal bone loss measured 0.5 mm mesially and 0.4 mm distally over a maximum follow-up of 36 months. Human histology demonstrated that connective tissue was seen to exist without any inflammatory response, for up to 6 months. Increasing evidence of bone formation was seen in direct relation to the boactive glass material beyond this time frame.
Discussion: The need to repair and augment dentoalveolar defects necessitates the use of autogenous bone or a substitute that may be seen to avoid the additional morbidity of a donor site procedure and without risk of cross infection. The use of bioactive glass has been proposed as a viable bone substitute. The current study draws attention to the long healing time required to achieve even a small amount of new bone incorporation into the graft, as seen histologically. However, the high rate of osseointegration and continued medium-term function of implants placed into these grafted sites would indicate that the use of bioactive glass does not prohibit osseointegration. However, it is likely that the initial integration will have derived from those areas in contact with native bone.
Conclusion: Implants will survive for up to 3 years in sites grafted with bioactive glass, even when such grafts appear to only slowly conduct new bone growth.
Keywords: alloplast, augmentation, bioactive glass, dental implants