The purpose of this study were to analyse 1) the changes in the bone mineral content (BMC) in mandibles with implant-supported overdentures when compared with the physiologic age-related mandibular BMC loss, 2) whether the BMC changes were different in groups without or with a bar connecting the implants and 3) whether the presence of mandibular osteoporosis affects the loss of bone height around the implants. The material consisted of 22 long-term edentulous healthy persons, 18 women and 4 men from 54 to 78 years of age with 1 Astra Tech Dental Implant in both canine regions, connected by a bar in half of the patients. BMC measurements were performed in vivo by dual-photon scanner at baseline, just after attachment insertion, at 2-year and 5-year visits. Mandibular osteoporosis was estimated by comparing baseline BMC values with normal mandibular BMC values for young adults of same gender. Loss of bone height around implants was measured on periodically identical intraoral radiographs. The fixed parts of the implant-system were stable during the trial in all patients.
In conclusion: 1) the increased function after this treatment seems to cause a load-related bone formation which minimizes the physiologic age-related mandibular BMC loss, 2) this effect seems to be independent of attachment system and 3) mandibular osteoporosis prior to implant treatment may be a risk factor for bone loss around implants. However, this treatment can be recommended also in osteoporotic persons.