Clinical Oral Implants Research

Quantitative determination of the stability of the implant-tissue interface using resonance frequency analysis


N. Meredith, Department of Oral and Dental Science, Bristol Dental Hospital.Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BSl 2LY, UK


Bone anchored implants are now being used in dentistry for supporting intraoral and craniofacial prostheses. Although high success rates have been reported, a small number of implants may fail during the early healing phase or later in function. Currently available clinical methods to determine implant stability and osseointegration are relatively crude and may entail percussing a fixture with a blunt instrument. Radiographs are of value, but a standardised technique is necessary to ensure repeatability. This investigation was designed to study the application of a non-invasive test method using resonance frequency analysis to make quantitative measurements of the stability of the implant tissue interface in-vitro and in-vivo. The resonance frequency of a small transducer was measured when attached to implants embedded at different heights in an aluminium block. A strong correlation (r=0.94, p<0.01) was observed between the observed frequency and the height of implant fixture exposed. The change in stiffness observed in the bone surrounding an implant during healing was modelled by embedding implants in self-curing polymethylmethacrylate and measuring the resonance frequency at periods during polymerisation. A significant increase in resonance frequency was observed related to the increase in stiffness. Resonance frequency measurements were also made on implants in-vivo and the results correlated well with the in-vitro findings.