Purpose: To evaluate and compare the effects of two restorative materials with different stiffness on peri-implant bone microstrain and implant micromovements during occlusal loading in implant-supported single and adjacent splinted crowns.
Keywords: acrylate polymer, dental implants, dental prosthesis, implant-supported, zirconia
Materials and Methods: Two 3 × 10-mm implants were inserted into the tibia of four rabbits. During the osseointegration process, prosthetic restorations were performed. Before suturing the flap, each implant’s position and direction were obtained by fastening two splinted transfer abutments, onto which implant analogs were placed and fastened; the splinted transfer abutments were subsequently unfastened. Splinted transfer abutment/analog complexes were cast using type IV plaster to obtain eight different working models. Two single mandibular premolar crowns of monolithic zirconia and acrylate polymer composite were generated using CAD/CAM technology, and 16 adjacent splinted crowns (eight of each material) with the same design were also generated. After 6 weeks of implant osseointegration, the animals were sacrificed. Tibial sections with the implants were extracted, and prosthetic restorations (performed during implant osseointegration) were fastened to the implants. Static loading tests were performed with 100-N force application and an inclination of 6 degrees over the central fossa of the premolars. Implant micromovement was measured using an image analysis technique. Bone microstrain was quantified using two strain gauges placed on the crestal bone around the implants. Data were analyzed using two-way analysis of variance.
Results: The mean implant micromovement values were lower for monolithic zirconia single and splinted crowns (61.5 ± 26.3 μm and 57.7 ± 8.8 μm, respectively) than for acrylate polymer composite-based single and splinted crowns (78.9 ± 37.3 μm and 59.61 ± 11.5 μm, respectively). No significant differences between the materials were noted. Bone microstrain around the implants was lower for splinted crowns (303.7 ± 281.3 με for acrylate polymer composite; 312.4 ± 226.8 με for monolithic zirconia) than for single crowns (539.7 ± 8.8 με for acrylate polymer composite; 574.6 ± 271.9 με for monolithic zirconia).
Conclusion: Using restorative materials of different stiffness did not significantly affect the micromovement of already-osseointegrated implants supporting single or splinted crowns. Independent of material stiffness, single crowns transfer significantly more microstrain than splinted crowns.