Critical summary from the American Dental Association Center for Evidence-based Dentistry

iStock_000014314701XSmall dental implant

This new critical summary is of a 2011 review by Pommer et al that compared survival rates of shorter dental implants (see Dental Elf 18th July 2011).

The reviewer highlights a number of methodological shortcomings in the review. Only English language articles were included and outcomes were reported on an implant rather than a patient basis with a potential for confounding from clustering.  Overall the review favoured long implants although the short implants had similar survival rates at one year.

It is suggested that short, rough-surfaced dental implants may obviate the need for invasive bone augmentation procedures.  However, evidence is limited to observational studies after one year of loading.   The review notes that the findings are similar to other systematic reviews in this area (see links).


ADA-EBD – In selected sites, short, rough-surfaced dental implants are as successful as long dental implants

Pommer B, Frantal S, Willer J, Posch M, Watzek G, Tepper G. Impact of dental implant length on early failure rates: a meta-analysis of observational studies.  J Clin Periodontol. 2011 Sep;38(9):856-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01750.x. Epub 2011 Jul 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 21722154.

Dental Elf  18th July 2011 – Shorter implants have higher failure rates

Annibali S, Cristalli MP, Dell’Aquila D, Bignozzi I, La Monaca G, Pilloni A. Short dental implants: a systematic review. J Dent Res. 2012 Jan;91(1):25-32. doi: 10.1177/0022034511425675. Epub 2011 Oct 27. Review. PubMed PMID: 22034499.

Sun HL, Huang C, Wu YR, Shi B. Failure rates of short (≤ 10 mm) dental implants and factors influencing their failure: a systematic review. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2011 Jul-Aug;26(4):816-25. Review. PubMed PMID: 21841992.

Telleman G, Raghoebar GM, Vissink A, den Hartog L, Huddleston Slater JJ, Meijer HJ. A systematic review of the prognosis of short (<10 mm) dental implants placed in the partially edentulous patient. J Clin Periodontol. 2011 Jul;38(7):667-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01736.x. Epub 2011 May 12. Review. PubMed PMID: 21564158.

Romeo E, Bivio A, Mosca D, Scanferla M, Ghisolfi M, Storelli S. The use of short dental implants in clinical practice: literature review. Minerva Stomatol.  2010 Jan-Feb;59(1-2):23-31. Review. PubMed PMID: 20212407.

Kotsovilis S, Fourmousis I, Karoussis IK, Bamia C. A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of implant length on the survival of rough-surface dental implants. J Periodontol. 2009 Nov;80(11):1700-18. doi: 10.1902/jop.2009.090107. Review. PubMed PMID: 19905941.


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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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