Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 15 (2000), No. 4 15. Aug. 2000
This study examined whether it is possible to restore an edentulous mandible with a complete-arch fixed prosthesis retained by only 4 implants without decreasing the survival rate. One hundred nineteen patients received complete-arch mandibular prostheses retained by 4 implants. Most patients were followed for 3 years or more. All patients followed a routine protocol, including annual check-ups and regular radiographic examinations. Twenty-one patients dropped out. Radiographic measurements used the threads of the implants as a basis for comparison. No indication was found that the number of supporting implants could have influenced the observed frequency of technical and surgical complications. Three implants were lost, 2 after 1 year and 1 after 5 years. A statistically significant difference in bone loss between the mesial and distal implants was found. The number of fractured resin teeth in mandibular prostheses was higher when patients had an implant-supported prosthesis in the maxilla. The present study revealed an implant survival rate of 98.6% after 5 years. Therefore, it was concluded that there may not be a need for more than 4 implants to support a fixed mandibular prosthesis, when implants at least 10 mm long can be used.
Keywords: dental implants, implant-supported dental prosthesis, mandible