Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether early and immediate loading of dental implants resulted in adverse consequences as determined clinically, radiographically, and histologically.
Materials and methods: In a canine model, 48 sand-blasted, large-grit, acid-etched (SLA) surfaced implants were placed at 4 different times before definitive restoration and loading. These times were 3 months (group A), 21 days (group B), 10 days (group C), and 2 days (immediately) (group D) before loading. Each implant was restored at the same time with a single gold screw-retained crown. Immediately after restoration all crowns were placed in function. Standardized periapical radiographs were made 1, 2, and 3 months after restoration. At the end of the study, block sections were obtained for histologic examination. Changes in crestal bone height on the mesial and distal aspects of each implant and the change in bone density of the coronal 3 mm of crestal bone were recorded. Primary, secondary, and total bone-to-implant contact; bone marrow-to-implant contact; and connective tissue-to-implant contact were evaluated histologically.
Results: All implants were osseointegrated at the end of the study; no clinical failures of integration were noted. The changes in crestal bone heights for groups A, B, C, and D (means +/- SE) were 0.02 +/- 0.07 mm, 0.30 +/- 0.08 mm, 0.15 +/- 0.08 mm, and 0.35 +/- 0.18 mm, respectively. Total bone-to-implant contact for the 4 groups was 69.1%, 71.3%, 74.6%, and 75.2%, respectively (P > .57).
Discussion: Under the conditions of this study no statistically significant differences were noted between the 4 different loading protocols for any of the parameters recorded. This finding is consistent with other recent studies and case reports.
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that early and immediate loading of single-unit SLA surfaced implants was possible in this model. (More than 50 references.)