Purpose: To synthesize evidence derived from systematic reviews (SRs) on different interventions for rehabilitation of the edentulous maxilla with implant-supported restorations.
Materials and Methods: A protocol-oriented search was established to address the PICO question: What is the current evidence regarding rehabilitation of the edentulous maxilla with different implant-supported prostheses in terms of implant and prosthesis survival? The primary outcomes were implant and prosthesis survival rates evaluated from SRs of clinical studies including adult patients with complete edentulism of the maxilla and comparing different implant-supported rehabilitation strategies. Methodologic quality of the SRs was assessed with the AMSTAR-2 tool.
Results: The final selection process led to the inclusion of 36 SRs that were grouped as: (1) addressing maxillae with sufficient bone to place implants; (2) addressing maxillae with insufficient bone to place implants; and (3) comparing different types of prosthesis, number of implants, patient-reported outcomes, and economic evaluations. The literature describes four or more implants as suitable for full-arch fixed prostheses and implant-supported overdentures; in both cases, the overall survival rate is > 95%. Miniimplants present very high short-term failure rates (> 30%). Poor description of technical complications, adjustments, and maintenance and corresponding costs precluded a cost-effectiveness analysis.
Conclusion: No implant-supported rehabilitation of the edentulous maxilla (fixed or removable) should be supported on fewer than four implants. A one-piece full-arch fixed dental prosthesis can be supported by a minimum of two anterior axial plus two posterior distally tilted implants or by six to eight axial implants symmetrically distributed through the posterior and anterior regions of the arch. Four to six implants is the advised number to support an overdenture. The use of mini-implants in the maxilla is inadvisable.