Short implant-supported prostheses may be a valid option in the treatment of the atrophic jaw

iStock_000014314701XSmall dental implant

Short dental implants have been proposed as an alternative to other methods of  bone augmentation for the prosthetic treatment of atrophic alveolar ridges. The aim of this review was to systematically evaluate clinical studies of implants < 10 mm in length, to determine short implant-supported prosthesis success in the atrophic jaw.

Searches were conducted in Medline and six relevant peer-reviewed dental journals for all types of clinical study designs except for case reports written in English.  The authors screened eligible studies, conducted quality assessment and data extraction independently. The main outcomes were implant survival, incidence of biological and biomechanical complications, and radiographic peri-implant marginal bone loss.

The authors included 2 randomized controlled trials and 14 observational studies (6193 short-implants in 3848 patients). The mean observational period was 3.2yrs (SD=1.7yrs). They found the:-

  • Cumulative survival rate (CSR)  = 99.1% (95%CI: 98.8-99.4).
  • Biological success rate                  = 98.8% (95%CI: 97.8-99.8),
  • Biomechanical success rate        = 99.9% (95%CI: 99.4-100.0).
  •  A higher CSR for rough-surfaced implants.

The authors concluded:-

The provision of short implant–supported prostheses in patients with atrophic alveolar ridges appears to be a successful treatment option in the short term; however, more scientific evidence is needed for the long term.

Annibali S, Cristalli MP, Dell’aquila D, Bignozzi I, La Monaca G, Pilloni A. Short Dental Implants: A Systematic Review. J Dent Res. 2011 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22034499.

Related reviews

See Dental Elf July 18th  for links to two other reviews on short dental implants.


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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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