Objective: The rehabilitation of edentulous mandibles with implant-supported overdentures is a state-of-the-art contemporary implant treatment. Computer-assisted flapless surgery is associated with decreased chairside treatment time, as well as significant reduction in patient postoperative morbidity and discomfort. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protocol of computer-guided surgery in the treatment of edentulous mandibles with overdentures supported by four intraforaminal implants and retained by Locator® attachments in elderly patients, both from a clinician's and a patient's perspective, as well as to assess the stability of the results in a 2-year period.
Method and materials: 15 patients presenting edentulous mandibles and discomfort while wearing conventional overdentures were enrolled in the study. Careful presurgical and computer-assisted 3D treatment planning was performed. Patients were treated with four intraforaminal implants using a computer-assisted flapless approach. All patients were prosthetically rehabilitated with overdentures. Clinical parameters such as peri-implant probing depth (PPD), Plaque Index (PI), and bleeding on probing (BOP) were evaluated. Patients' perceptions regarding the outcome were assessed on visual analog scales (VAS).
Results: Out of 15 patients consecutively included in the study, only 10 patients could be treated with the designed protocol. A total of 40 Camlog implants were placed. No implant was lost over a 2-year period. BOP was negative in 82% of sites; mean PPD was 2.34 mm; 8 of the 40 implants showed the absence of keratinized tissue on the lingual or the vestibular aspect. The VAS score of 9.9 demonstrated the satisfaction of the patients.
Conclusions: Within the limitations of this study, the data demonstrate that in a significant number of cases this protocol could not be used for anatomical or technical reasons. In the cases where it could be used, the computer-assisted protocol appeared suitable for treating elderly patients with mandibular edentulism and restoring them with an overdenture in a minimally invasive way. The possibility of placing implants outside the borders of the keratinized tissue is relevant.