Are Short Dental Implants (<10 mm) Effective? A Meta-Analysis on Prospective Clinical Trials

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Abstract

Background:

This study aims to compare the survival rate of short (<10 mm) and standard (≥10 mm) rough-surface dental implants under functional loading.

Methods:

An electronic literature search using PubMed and Medline databases was conducted. Prospective clinical human trials, published in English from January 1997 to July 2011, that examined dental implants of <10 mm with a 12-month follow-up were included in this meta-analysis. The following data were retrieved from the included articles: the number of implants, implant dimensions, implant locations, types of prostheses, follow-up periods, and implant survival rates. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates and the hazard rates were analyzed and compared between short and standard implants.

Results:

Thirteen studies were selected, examining 1,955 dental implants, of which 914 were short implants. Short dental implants had an estimated survival rate of 88.1% at 168 months, when standard dental implants had a similar estimated survival rate of 86.7% (P = 0.254). The peak failure rate of short dental implants was found to occur between 4 and 6 years of function. This occurred at an earlier time point compared with standard dental implants, where the peak failure rate occurred between 6 and 8 years of function.

Conclusions:

This study shows that in the long term, implants of <10 mm are as predictable as longer implants. However, they fail at an earlier stage compared with standard implants.

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