Background: Conventionally, endosseous dental implants have required 3 to 6 months of uninterrupted healing based on observations for dental implants that were characterized by a relatively smooth machined surface. Many studies have since demonstrated that implants with a roughened surface resulted in greater bone apposition, earlier bone contact, and a stronger bond between the implant and the bone, suggesting that implants with roughened surfaces could be loaded earlier than 3 to 6 months. Formal clinical studies confirmed that implants with rough surfaces can have abutments placed and be loaded occlusally as early as 6 weeks postplacement. The purpose of this prospective, human clinical investigation was to evaluate a large number of implants with a specific rough surface (sand-blasted acid-etched [SLA]) placed in everyday practice under routine private-practice conditions.
Methods: A prospective, multicenter, human clinical observational study was initiated with the goal of recruiting a minimum of 500 patients and 800 implants. The implants were to be placed and restored in predominantly private-practice settings around the world. Ninety-two practitioners in 16 countries agreed to participate, and 86 followed the study design. Patients had to be in good health, have sufficient bone to encase the implant, and agree to return for recall appointments. Exclusion criteria included heavy smoking (>10 cigarettes a day) and bone augmentation procedures at the implant site. All implants were two-piece (an abutment was to be placed after 6 weeks of healing) and were characterized by the presence of a transmucosal polished collar. Each implant had an SLA surface. All implants were positioned using a non-submerged (single-stage) surgical technique. Survival and success rates were calculated by life-table analyses.
Results: A total of 706 patients were enrolled and 1,406 implants were placed. In the final analyses, 590 patients with 990 implants (70.4% of those enrolled) met all inclusion criteria, including placement of an abutment and provisional restoration within 63 days of surgical placement. The majority of implants were 10 and 12 mm long (78.7%) and were placed in type II and III bone (87%). Seventy-three percent of the implants were placed in the mandible, and 27% were placed in the maxilla. The cumulative survival rate was 99.56% at 3 years and 99.26% at 5 years. The overall success rate was 99.12% at 3 years and 97.38% after 5 years.
Conclusions: Under private-practice conditions, implants with an SLA surface could be placed and restored predictably within 6 to 8 weeks. Data from this prospective, multicenter, human observational study reinforced the results of more formal clinical studies and demonstrated that implants with the SLA surface can be restored in patients in approximately half of the time of conventional healing periods.