The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of the number of supporting implants and different retentive mechanisms on load transfer characteristics of mandibular overdentures.Materials and Methods:
Two photoelastic models of edentulous mandibles were fabricated having two and four cylindrical implants (Calcitek, 4 × 13 mm) embedded in the parasymphyseal area. Four attachment systems were evaluated: single anchor attachment (ERA), bar-clip, bar with distally placed ball attachments, and bar with distally placed extracoronal rigid attachments (Easy Slot). A 133 N vertical force was applied unilaterally to the central fossa of the right first molar. The resulting stresses of the models were observed and recorded photographically in the field of a circular polariscope.Results:
The highest stresses were observed with the bar with distally placed extracoronal rigid attachment (Easy Slot) design, followed by bar-ball, bar, and the single anchor attachment (ERA) for both models. The lowest stress was observed with the single anchor attachment (ERA) design for both models. There were slight differences in stress values around implants in both models.Conclusions:
For all tested attachments on both models, the stress was concentrated on the ipsilateral implant. The bar-clip system allowed the distribution of load to all supporting implants in both models. Although the highest stress level observed with all attachment systems was moderate, the bar-Easy Slot attachment showed the highest stresses. The lowest stress was observed with the single anchor attachment (ERA) design for both models. Varying the number of implants had no significant effect on stress values around supporting implants.