Purpose: The present study summarizes the long-term clinical observations of edentulous patients treated with mandibular implant-supported overdentures.
Materials and methods: From 1984 to 1997, edentulous patients were consecutively admitted to treatment with mandibular implant overdentures. The treatment plan was to connect the dentures to only two implants by means of single ball anchors or bars; in patients with special oral conditions, three implants would be placed. Regular maintenance care was provided at least one time per year. The cumulative implant survival rate was calculated. Implant failures were described according to clinical signs at the time of removal and related to the patient's specific history. Crestal bone measurements were performed using computer software.
Results: In all, 147 patients with 314 implants were evaluated for 10 to 24 years. Of these, 101 patients were still available; of the 46 patients who were not evaluated, 26 had died or were not ambulatory. Thirteen implants failed during the observation period, resulting in a cumulative survival rate of 85.9% after 24 years. The reasons for removal of implants were peri-implantitis (two implants) and mobility (11 implants). Mean crestal bone loss was 0.54 ± 0.7 mm per implant site after an average observation time of 16.5 ± 3.9 years. The duration of loading had a statistically significant effect on bone loss.
Conclusions: The present data exhibit a satisfactory survival rate of implants. An individual analysis of implants with late failures did not reveal a typical failure pattern, but loss of implants without signs of infection was more frequent than loss of implants with signs of peri-implantitis.