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Study boosts confidence in dental implants

12 August 2013

Study boosts confidence in dental implants

Results from two of the largest international clinical studies performed to date with dental implants have just been published and demonstrate excellent clinical performance. Together, the studies have evaluated more than one thousand Straumann Bone Level implants in Europe, the US and Australia.

The studies both reported very high implant survival rates of more than 98 per cent with practically no bone loss around the implants.

The first study was a randomised controlled clinical trial (RCT) at 11 clinical centres in Europe, USA and Australia.

This RCT has evaluated 106 patients each treated with one implant and followed for three years. The investigators compared the outcomes of two different approaches – the first involving two surgical steps, in which the implant is covered with gum tissue (‘submerged’) during healing, and the second involving just a single step, in which part of the implant is left exposed (‘transmucosal’) thus saving a second surgical operation. Only a single implant was lost, yielding three-year implant-survival rates of 98.1 per cent and 100 per cent for the transmucosal and submerged groups respectively.

Because bone loss around implants has been documented as a common undesirable effect of implant treatment, this study looked carefully at bone level changes. It showed that bone level was impressively stable over three years after implant placement, with mean decreases of less than 0.7 mm and 0.6 mm in the submerged and transmucosal groups respectively.

While RCTs demonstrate that products or treatments work well, they are usually conducted by specialists in selected and strictly controlled populations. This study was performed by dental practices and University clinics that are highly specialised in dental implantology, which raises the question of whether its excellent results can be reproduced in daily dental practice. To answer this, a large study using the same implant was conducted in Europe and the US, in which the dentists had to follow the product guidelines but were able to use the implant as they would in normal daily practice. The strength of this type of investigation, which is known as ‘non-interventional study’ (NIS), is that it documents real-life situations, in which indications, patients and conditions all vary widely.

In this study, a total of 908 implants were evaluated in 538 patients at more than a hundred dental practices in six countries, revealing an implant survival rate of 98.5 per cent after one year (the risk of failure is highest in the first year after implant placement). Besides the very high survival rates, the bone level remained very stable in the majority of cases. The investigators therefore concluded that treatment with Straumann Bone Level Implants yielded very successful outcomes in ‘real life’ conditions.

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