Aims: To assess the success rate and implant stability changes of narrow dental implants (NDIs) during the osseous healing period.
Materials and methods: This prospective observational clinical study included 21 patients with narrow alveolar ridge of restricted mesiodistal interdental span who received NDIs. The alveolar ridge width was determined by the ridge mapping technique. Implant stability was measured using Periotest® M immediately after implant insertion then after 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 weeks postoperatively. The outcome variables were success rate and implant stability changes during the healing period. The statistical analysis included one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey\'s multiple comparisons test, values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Results: Twenty-one patients received 54 implants, the success rate was 92.6% (50/54). The mean ± SD periotest value (PTV) was significantly increased at 4 weeks (7.62 ± 6.39 PTV) compared with primary stability (1.48 ± 3.16 PTV), at 8 weeks (4.46 ± 4.45 PTV). It significantly decreased compared with that at 4 weeks and at 12 weeks (1.82 ± 3.22 PTV); it decreased significantly compared to that at 8 weeks.
Conclusion: Narrow dental implants have a high early success rate. The implant stability during the healing period drops significantly in the first 4 weeks postoperatively and then increases steadily in the following weeks to reach to a level close to that of primary stability after 12 weeks.
Clinical significance: Narrow dental implants are indicated in cases of insufficient alveolar bone width obviating the need for bone augmentation and reduced interdental space such as in cases of congenitally missing teeth or after orthodontic treatment. Knowledge of the stability changes during the osseous healing period enables the clinicians to determine the optimum time for functional loading.
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