Purpose: This 10-year retrospective study aimed to report implant bone changes in completely edentulous patients after a mandibular immediate loading protocol using two ball attachments.
Materials and methods: This study was initially designed as a prospective 1-year cohort study, then extended with a 10-year retrospective evaluation of implant bone change. In the first part of the study, 43 edentulous patients wearing satisfactory maxillary and mandibular dentures for at least 3 months were included. Two interforaminal implants (Brånemark system, Nobel Biocare) were placed symmetrically in the anterior mandible using a surgical template and a torque greater than 40 Ncm. Immediately following surgery, 2.25-mm-diameter ball abutments were screwed to the implants, and their matrices (Dalbo Plus, Cendres et Métaux) were incorporated in the denture base. In an initial 1-year study, clinical recalls were scheduled 3, 6, and 12 months after implant placement with a team of two investigators. The follow-up consisted of a clinical examination and a standardized radiographic assessment of the vertical bone change. Implant stability was then monitored. The patient satisfaction was evaluated with a questionnaire before and 3 months after loading. The second part of the study occurred 10 years after the inclusion, as patients were recalled for an implant bone change monitoring.
Results: The included patients were 28 to 80 years of age (mean: 61 ± 11.4 years). Three out of 86 implants failed during the healing phase (survival rate of 96.5% [90.1%, 99.2%]). Implant stability was maintained all along the 1-year follow-up (Δ = 73.33, 95% CI [72.39 to 74.26], P = .032). The mean radiographic bone loss was 0.27 ± 0.35 mm at 3 months after surgery, 0.47 ± 0.42 mm after 1 year, and 0.95 ± 0.98 mm after 10 years. General visual analog scale satisfaction was increased by 25 units with the treatment. No patients were lost to follow-up at 1 year, but five were lost at 10 years.
Conclusion: This protocol of immediate loading of two unsplinted mandibular implants in overdenture patients using ball attachments is a clinically viable treatment with a high implant success rate and improved satisfaction.