Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 16 (2001), No. 3 15. June 2001
Tightening of the screws in implant-supported restorations has been reported to be problematic, in that if the applied torque is too low, screw loosening occurs. If the torque is too high, then screw fracture can take place. Thus, accuracy of the torque driver is of the utmost importance. This study evaluated 4 new electronic torque drivers (controls) and 10 test electronic torque drivers, which had been in clinical service for a minimum of 5 years. Torque values of the test drivers were measured and were compared with the control values using a 1-way analysis of variance. Torque delivery accuracy was measured using a technique that simulated the clinical situation. In vivo, the torque driver turns the screw until the selected tightening torque is reached. In this laboratory experiment, an implant, along with an attached abutment and abutment gold screw, was held firmly in a Tohnichi torque gauge. Calibration accuracy for the Tohnichi is ± 3% of the scale value. During torque measurement, the gold screw turned a minimum of 180 degrees before contact was made between the screw and abutment. Three torque values (10, 20, and 32 N-cm) were evaluated, at both high- and low-speed settings. The recorded torque measurements indicated that the 10 test electronic torque drivers maintained a torque delivery accuracy equivalent to the 4 new (unused) units. Judging from the torque output values obtained from the 10 test units, the clinical use of the electronic torque driver suggests that accuracy did not change significantly over the 5-year period of clinical service.