Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 26 (2011), Supplement 15. Mar. 2011
Findings from the Academy of Osseointegration State of the Science on Implant Dentistry Conference clearly demonstrate that data are lacking regarding both quality of design and adequate outcome measures (standardization, validity, and relevance to patient) to support an evidence-based systematic evaluation of implant efficacy. Despite the dearth of controlled trials and the variability in defining implant survival/success, the preponderance of evidence is viewed as lending support for consideration of dental implant therapy as a safe and predictable alternative to conventional restorations for many applications. However, this minimal conclusion undermines the best intentions of the dental profession, which is striving to substantiate to the patient, third-party providers, and the government the relative benefits and risks of various prosthetic treatment alternatives. The conclusions of multiple consensus conferences have repeatedly stressed that additional research with good strength of evidence following a broad spectrum of outcomes is vital to extend the breadth of conclusions regarding dental implant treatment efficacy. However, without a set of consensusbased core outcome measures addressing pertinent clinical and patient-centered factors, future expensive, time-consuming, and technically complex clinical studies may suffer the same critical flaws seen in the current body of research. It may be possible and useful to establish a core set of well-defined, discriminatory, and feasible outcome measures for common utilization and a hierarchy of additional recommended outcome measures for specific benefit categories. Such a standardized group of outcome measures would be likely to significantly enhance the potential for future research. In addition, with the formation of consensus guidelines, there would be an opportunity for scientific journals to promote the quality of implant dentistry research by suggesting the inclusion of these core outcome measures in studies submitted for publication.
Keywords: clinical trials, consensus, dental implant, outcome measure