• clinical examination;
  • early functional loading;
  • mandible;
  • one-stage procedure;
  • radiographic examination;
  • titanium dental implants


Background: Short-term clinical studies have indicated the possibility of one-stage surgery and early loading of machined titanium implants. However, long-term data comparing the outcome to the conventional two-stage technique are missing.

Purpose: A clinical and radiographic study was performed to compare the outcome of oral rehabilitation of the endentulous mandible by fixed suprastructures connected to implants installed according to either (1) a one-stage surgical procedure and early loading (experimental group - EG) or (2) the original two-stage concept (reference group - RG). The EG and RG comprised 16 and 11 subjects, respectively.

Materials and Methods: The following specific inclusion criterion were adopted: (1) all patients had to consider themselves to be in good general health, (2) the amount of bone had to enable the installation of five to six, at least 10-mm long fixtures (Mk II fixtures; Nobel Biocare AB, Göteborg, Sweden) between the mental foramina, and (3) the patients had to be available for the follow-up and maintenance program. A total of 88 implants were placed in the EG compared to 30 in the RG. In the EG, fixed appliances were connected to the implants within 20 days following implant installation while the fixed appliances in the RG were connected about 4 months following fixture installation. At delivery of the suprastructures, all patients were radiographically examined, an examination that was repeated at the 18- and 60-month follow-ups.

Results: The analysis of the radiographs from the EG disclosed that during the observation period, between 18 and 60 months, the mean loss of bone support amounted to 0.2 mm (SD = 0.4). The corresponding value observed in the RG was 0.0 mm (SD = 0.5). During the 60-month observation period, no fixture was lost in any of the two groups examined. The implants under study as well as those in the reference material were at all observation intervals found to be clinically stable.

Conclusions: This clinical study demonstrated that it is, at least based on a 5-year observation period, possible to successfully load via a permanent fixed rigid cross-arch suprastructure titanium dental implants soon after installation. However, such a treatment approach has to be strictly limited to the interforamina area of the endentulous mandible. Furthermore, the bone resorption was found to be within the same range around such implants as around implants installed and loaded according to the original two-stage protocal.