Sleeping Versus Loaded Implants

A study compared the outcome up to 12 years of “sleeping” versus loaded implants in the mandible, which involved 14 pa­tients with overdentures, for a total of 28 loaded im­plants and 14 sleeping im­plants. During follow-up visits, intraoral radiographs were taken to observe changes in bone level. The study found that, at each ob­servation visit, compared with abutment connection, the submerged nonloaded (sleeping) implants had less bone loss than their neighboring functional (loaded) im­plants. The difference was primarily due to more significant bone loss during the first year of loading; following the first year, changes in bone level re­mained similar for both types of im­plants. The study suggests that the first months of loading of im­plants have a significant impact on the bone level, re­sulting in the initial difference between sleeping versus loaded implants. This is followed by a more physiological bone level change. The study notes that this initial difference in bone level might be ex­plained by the adaptation of the surrounding bone to the loaded implant.
(Source: Clin­ical Oral Implants Research, first published online No­vember 25, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0501.2011.02263.x)