Predictable osseointegration of dental implants with a strong soft-tissue seal arguably leads to healthy hard and soft tissue that are maintained in the long term. To scientifically substantiate this view, Swiss-based implantologists and researchers Dr Roland Glauser and Dr Peter Schüpbach recently conducted a study on mini-pigs to evaluate the healing around freshly inserted Patent™ zirconia implants. At the 2021 International Dental Show (IDS) in Cologne, Zircon Medical had the chance to speak with Dr Glauser about the study design and the implications of his findings regarding clinical application.
This attachment is a prerequisite for contact osteogenesis.
Dr Glauser, you have been using and investigating zirconia implants for years. What needs to be considered when working with zirconia implants?
What factors play a primary role when it comes to the healing of hard and soft tissue around dental implants?
Two different mechanisms of bone healing around implants have been documented. Distance osteogenesis is the first documented mechanism of bone healing and was first described in the late 1960s. Within the context of distance osteogenesis, which proceeds rather slowly and is primarily found with classically machined surfaces, fresh bone forms in the osteotomy in the direction of the free surface of a placed implant. With modern moderately rough and osteoconductive implant surfaces, we increasingly see the mechanism of contact osteogenesis: starting from a single point of contact with the bone, a migration of bone-forming cells along the free implant surface begins, accelerating the overall process of bone healing around the implant.
What further properties must an implant possess to achieve such accelerated hard- and soft-tissue healing?
You mentioned an animal model study that you conducted in collaboration with Dr Schüpbach to evaluate the healing around Patent™ Implants. How was this set up, and what were your results?
The second surprising finding from our study is that the vertical histoarchitecture of sulcular epithelium, junctional epithelium and connective tissue at the soft-tissue level around Patent™ Implants has a highly favorable structure and that the soft-tissue seal around these implants remained consistently above soft-tissue level after a healing period of four weeks. In contrast, significant accumulation of calculus and plaque was observed around the control implants, spreading downward towards the junctional epithelium, the point at which the human body begins to react. This is consistent with observations from the literature that plaque accumulation around zirconia implants is significantly lower than around titanium implants.