Purpose: Many different attachment systems (eg, bars, studs, magnets, telescopic copings) have been used to retain overdentures. The current study aimed to investigate the load transfer characteristics and to compare the stress levels of four attachment designs for mandibular overdentures retained by one central implant and two inclined distal implants.
Materials and methods: Photoelastic mandibular models fabricated with three screw-type implants (Tapered Screw-Vent, 3.75 × 13 mm) were placed in the parasymphyseal area. The center implant was vertically oriented to the midline, and the other implants were embedded in the canine areas with a 20-degree angulation relative to the center implant. Four overdentures with different attachment designs (bar, bar/ball, bar/distally placed Rk-1s, and Locators) were studied in the context of this model. Vertical loads (100 N) were applied to the central fossa of the right first molar area of each overdenture. Stress levels that developed in the denture-bearing areas and around the implants were observed photoelastically and evaluated visually.
Results: The studied attachment designs showed low and moderate stress levels. The greatest stress was found with the bar/ball design, while the lowest stress levels were observed with the Locator attachment design.
Conclusion: Stresses were concentrated on the loaded side for each design. All tested designs experienced moderate stress around the posterior edentulous area. None of the designs experienced more than moderate stress. The lowest stress was noted with the Locator attachments, which transmitted little discernible stress around the implants.