Clinical Oral Implants Research

Biological and technical complications and failures with fixed partial dentures (FPD) on implants and teeth after four to five years of function


Correspondence to:
Prof. Dr Urs Brägger,
Department of Periodontology and Fixed Prosthodontics
University of Berne
Freiburgstrasse 7
CH-3010 Berne, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 31 632 25 89
Fax: +41 31 632 49 15


Abstract: The aim of this study was to compare the frequency of biological and technical complications with fixed partial dentures (FPDs) on implants, teeth and as mixed tooth-implant supported FPDs over 4 to 5 years of function. All implants belonged to the ITI® Dental Implant System. Group I-I (implant FPD) included 33 patients with 40 FPDs, group T-T (tooth FPDs) 40 patients with 58 FPDs, group I-T (mixed tooth-implant FPDs) 15 with 18 FPD. Of the bridge abutments 144 were teeth and 105 were implants. The median number of units replaced by the FPDs was 3 (range 2–14). The mean age of the patients was 55.7 years (range 23–83). Complete failures resulted in the loss of one FPD in each group. Two implants were lost due to fracture secondarily to development of a bone defect. One tooth had a vertical fracture and 1 tooth was lost due to periodontitis. Biological complications (peri-implantitis, PPD ≥5 mm and BOP+) occurred at 9.6% (10) of the implants. This number was, however, reduced to 5% if the threshold for definition of peri-implantitis was set at PPD ≥6 mm and BOP+. Biological complications occurred in 11.8% (17) of the abutment teeth (NS compared to implants); 2.8% (4) had secondary caries, 4.9% (7) endodontic problems and 4.1% (6) had periodontitis (PPD ≥5 mm, BOP+). Ten out of 32 patients with a general health problem indicated a biological complication, whereas 9 out of 53 patients with no general health problem had a biological complication (χ2: NS). Statistically significantly more technical complications were found in FPDs on implants (χ2, P≤0.05). The technical complications were associated with bruxism. Out of 10 bruxers 6 had a technical complication whereas 13 out of 75 non-bruxers had such a complication (χ2≤0.01). Extensions were associated with more technical complications (13 out of 35 with extensions versus 9 out of 81 without). In conclusion, favourable clinical conditions were found at tooth and implant abutments after 4–5 years of function. Loss of FPD over 4–5 years occurred at a similar rate with mixed, implant or tooth supported reconstructions. Significantly more porcelain fractures were found in FPDs on implants. Impaired general health status was not significantly associated with more biological failures but bruxism as well as extensions were associated with more technical failures.