Abstract: The purpose of this study was to predict the outcome of implant restorations in the treatment of partial edentulism, taking into account implant interdependency and the effect of several confounding variables. Between December 1982 and June 1998, 1956 Brånemark system® implants (1212 and 744 in the maxilla and mandible, respectively, 846 distal to first premolars) were installed in 660 patients (248 males) at the Department of Periodontology of the University Hospitals of the Catholic University of Leuven. Of the 810 restorations installed at the Department of Prosthetic Dentistry of the same hospital, 235 were single crowns, 166 were supported by implants and teeth and 409 were free-standing fixed partial prostheses. An additional 87 restorations was placed in private dental offices and were not included. The patients were followed from implant installation until June 1999. The estimated cumulative survival rates were 91.4% for all implants and 95.8% for all restorations over a period of 16 years. Estimated cumulative survival rates from loading for implant-tooth connected and free-standing implants were, respectively, 93.6% and 97.2%. Neither jaw site nor implant position (anterior–posterior) had any significant effect on the outcome. Short implant length, high number of implants per patient, low number of implants per prosthesis, implants loaded by acrylic-veneered restorations and implants combined with bone grafting present a higher risk hazard for implant failure. The idea of not splinting the implants in a fixed partial prosthesis is promising but needs replication before accepting it.
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