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J Periodontol. 2004 Jun;75(6):798-804.

A targeted review of study outcomes with short (< or = 7 mm) endosseous dental implants placed in partially edentulous patients.

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  • 1Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.



Generally, threaded root-form endosseous dental implants are thought to perform poorly in short lengths (i.e., < 10 mm). However, whether modifications in implant surface geometry will improve performance of short threaded implants is less clear.


The relationship between dental implant failure rates and their surface geometry, length, and location (maxilla versus mandible) was explored in the published literature. Using a MEDLINE search (1985 through 2001), studies were sought with the following criteria: 1) data suitable to calculate failure rates of implant lengths < or = 7 mm versus > 7 mm; 2) data separable into maxillary versus mandibular results; 3) criteria for "failure" clearly defined; and 4) minimal functional period of 2 years.


Twelve papers were identified as follows: eight with machined threaded implants, two with acid-treated threaded implants, and two with sintered porous-surfaced press-fit implants. The following results were found: 1) machined surface implants experienced greater failure rates than textured surface implants; 2) with the exception of sintered porous-surfaced implants, 7 mm long dental implants appear to have higher failure rates than those > 7 mm length; and 3) with textured surface implants, higher failure rates were more likely in the maxilla than in the mandible, but with machined surface implants there were no differences in failure rates between maxilla and mandible.


Dental implant surface geometry is a major determinant in how well these implants perform in short lengths, defined here as lengths of < or = 7 mm. While threaded implants show higher failure rates in short versus longer lengths, sintered porous-surfaced implants perform well in the defined "short" lengths. More studies are needed to better assess the performance of short, acid-washed threaded implants.

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