Happier patients with short implants

Recent research provides evidence that short implants are as successful as longer ones. To avoid advanced surgery such as bone grafting, inferior alveolar nerve transpositioning or sinus floor elevation to enable implant placement, treatment with short implants may offer a solution with the advantages of fewer interventions, shorter treatment times, reduced costs and lower patient morbidity.

Meet Daniel Thoma from the University of Zurich, who explains why, in his opinion, short implants is a considerable treatment option to increase patients’ quality of life.

Daniel Thoma about the use of shorter implants

Socio-economic factors, better prophylaxis and oral hygiene regimens for patients included in regular recall programs have led to a shift from fully to more partially edentulous patients over the past decades. This shift means that more single and multiple tooth gaps can be restored with implant-supported reconstructions. Patients’ needs are mostly of functional nature, followed by the wish to have continuous good oral health and long-term esthetics.

As a clinician, recent developments in implant dentistry offer me more choices in terms of technologies available to fulfill both the patient’s and my needs. In the posterior maxilla and mandible, areas where teeth are often missing, the use of dental implants allows me to provide patients with long-term successful fixed reconstructions. However, the main issues with implant therapy in these regions were high morbidity, due to swelling and pain, and long treatment time.

Recent research has focused on eliminating the need for augmentative surgeries and the use of shorter implants. Shorter implants are well documented and demonstrate results non-inferior to longer implants in augmented bone. From a patient’s perspective, less morbidity, less costs and less treatment time as demonstrated by the use of shorter implants are of key importance. Based on this scientific evidence, the way I treat patients has changed to a more minimal-invasive approach, avoiding primary augmentations, reducing bone grafting and still being able to place dental implants in posterior areas with limited bone dimensions. This approach not only offers more patients access to dental implants, but also reduces morbidity, probably the key factor when it comes to the decision to undergo elective dental surgery. The way to succeed today has clearly changed: same outcomes, less morbidity and happier patients.

Daniel Thoma, Head Division of Reconstructive Dentistry, Clinic for Fixed and Removable Prosthodontics and Dental Material Science, Center for Dental and Oral Medicine and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Download our “Scientific Review” on short 6 mm OsseoSpeed implants.