Interventions for replacing missing teeth: maintaining health around dental implants.

M. Esposito, H. V. Worthington, P. Thomsen, P. Coulthard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    BACKGROUND: To maintain healthy tissues around dental implants it is important to institute an effective preventive regimen (supportive therapy). Different maintenance regimens have been suggested, however it is unclear which are the most effective. OBJECTIVES: To test the null hypothesis of no difference between different interventions for maintaining healthy tissues around dental implants. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE and EMBASE. Handsearching included several dental journals. We checked the bibliographies of the identified randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and relevant review articles for studies outside the handsearched journals. We wrote to authors of all identified RCTs, to more than 55 oral implant manufacturers and an internet discussion group to find unpublished or ongoing RCTs. No language restrictions were applied. The last electronic search was conducted on 2 February 2004. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials of oral implants comparing agents or interventions for maintaining or recovering healthy tissues around dental implants. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We carried out a quality assessment of the included RCTs in duplicate and contacted the authors for missing information. We independently extracted the data in duplicate. We followed the Cochrane Oral Health Group's statistical guidelines. MAIN RESULTS: Fourteen RCTs were identified. Five of these trials, which reported results from a total of 127 patients, were suitable for inclusion in the review. Two trials evaluated the efficacy of powered and sonic toothbrushes, respectively, when compared to manual toothbrushing and showed no statistically significant differences. One RCT compared Listerine versus placebo mouthwashes showing a reduction of 54% in plaque and 34% in marginal bleeding compared with the placebo. One trial compared self administered subgingival chlorhexidine irrigation versus chlorhexidine mouthwash. The group using chlorhexidine irrigation resulted in statistically significantly lower mean plaque scores and a marginal bleeding index than the group using chlorhexidine mouthwash, however the mouthwash was given at a suboptimal dosage. One study compared etching gel with mechanical debridement showing no statistical differences. Follow ups ranged between 6 weeks and 5 months. It was not possible to make any meta-analysis as each trial assessed different interventions. REVIEWERS' CONCLUSIONS: There is only little reliable evidence for which are the most effective interventions for maintaining health around peri-implant tissues. There was no evidence that the use of powered or sonic toothbrushes was superior to manual toothbrushing. There is weak evidence that Listerine mouthwash, used twice a day for 30 seconds, as adjunct to routine oral hygiene is effective in reducing plaque formation and marginal bleeding around implants. There was no evidence that phosphoric etching gel offered any clinical advantage over mechanical debridement. These findings are based on RCTs having short follow-up periods and few subjects. There is not any reliable evidence for the most effective regimens for long term maintenance. More RCTs should be conducted in this area. In particular, there is a definite need for trials powered to find possible differences, using primary outcome measures and with much longer follow up. Such trials should be reported according the CONSORT guidelines (
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)CD003069
    JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online : Update Software)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Dental Implants
    • Dental Restoration Failure
    • prevention & control: Gingival Diseases
    • Humans
    • Oral Hygiene
    • Randomized Controlled Trials
    • rehabilitation: Tooth Loss


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