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The aim of this study was to systematically review the evidence for immediate implant loading in partially edentulous patients with extended edentulous sites and evaluate potential treatment modifiers.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
An electronic search was performed in Medline, Embase, and Central to identify studies investigating the outcome of implants subjected to immediate loading (IL) (less than 1 week), early loading (EL) (1 week to 2 months), or conventional loading (CL) (more than 2 months) with implant-supported fixed dental prostheses (IFDPs) in partially edentulous patients with extended edentulous sites, ie, at least two adjacent teeth are missing. Only human studies with at least 10 cases and a minimum follow-up time of 12 months, reporting on solid-screw-type implants with rough surfaces and a diameter of at least 3 mm, were included. Weighted means of implant survival rates and risk ratios for implant survival at 1 year using meta-analytic tools were calculated to perform the following comparisons: IL vs EL, IL vs CL, and IL in the maxilla vs mandible. Noncomparative studies reporting on IL and EL protocols were summarized through descriptive methods.
The search provided 3,872 titles, 837 abstracts, and 444 full-text articles. A total of 24 publications that comprised six comparative studies (five randomized controlled trials, one nonrandomized controlled trial) and 18 noncomparative studies were included for analysis. The comparison of weighted mean survival rates revealed no statistically significant difference between IL (97.9%) and EL (97.8%, P = .9405), and between IL (100%) and CL (99.3%, P = .3280). Meta-analysis showed no statistically significant difference in implant survival at 1 year between IL and EL (RR 0.90; 95% CI 0.30, 2.70; P = .502). A meta-analysis comparing IL and CL could not be performed due to the low number of failures. No statistically significant difference was found for IL implants placed in the maxilla vs the mandible (RR 1.55; 95% CI 0.49, 4.84; P > .05). Due to the small number of IL implants placed in the anterior, a comparison between implant survival in anterior vs posterior zones was not performed. Treatment modifiers were bone quality, primary stability, insertion torque, ISQ values, implant length, the need for substantial bone augmentation, the timing of implant placement, and the presence of parafunctional and smoking habits.
IL presents similar implant survival rates as EL or CL for partially edentulous patients with extended edentulous sites in the posterior zone, as long as strict inclusion/exclusion criteria are followed. There is a lack of evidence for IL of multiple implants in the anterior zone of partially edentulous patients. Preliminary evidence suggests that IL may be equally successful in either the maxilla or mandible. Further research is needed before IL in partially edentulous patients with extended edentulous sites can be recommended in everyday practice.