Blood flow in the tissue surrounding dental implants is reduced compared with that found around adjacent natural teeth, and the surface temperature of this implant-associated tissue is higher, show study results.
The findings emerge from a study involving laser speckle imaging (LSI) and thermography to evaluate the relationship between temperature and blood flow in individuals with implants, and were more pronounced in patients who had undergone bone grafting.
"These two measurements might become useful techniques to evaluate not only natural teeth but also soft tissue supporting implants," suggest Tetsuji Nakamoto (Kyushu Dental College, Fukuoka, Japan) and colleagues in Implant Dentistry.
The success of prosthodontic treatment is measured according to how well the interface between soft tissue and prostheses "harmonize," notes the research team.
A total of 20 individuals aged a mean of 58 years with dental implants took part in the study, of whom 10 had bone grafting, and 10 did not. Ten images using infrared LSI were taken for each participant at a 25 cm distance, and surface temperature of the tissues surrounding the implants and adjacent teeth were measured using a thermograph at a 10 cm distance.
Overall, blood flow was significantly lower in the free and attached gingiva around implants than around adjacent teeth, at 23.6 versus 19.1 mL/min per 100 g, and 24.4 versus 19.3 mL/min per 100 g, respectively.
By contrast, surface temperatures were significantly higher in tissue surrounding implants in all dental papilla, free gingiva, and attached gingiva, at 34.6 versus 35.0ºC, 34.6 versus 35.1ºC, and 34.4 versus 35.0ºC, respectively.
Nakamoto and co-investigators then separated participants with bone grafting and those without, and repeated the analysis.
The same, significant associations were observed for blood flow and temperature in participants with bone grafts - they were lower and higher, respectively, around implant tissues than adjacent teeth.
However, these associations did not hold true for participants without bone grafting, with the exception of the surface temperature of implants being mildly significantly higher, and the blood flow at the attached gingiva being mildly significantly lower around implants than adjacent teeth.
The findings suggest that "tissue surrounding implants is stable but has reduced blood flow, even when there is no chronic inflammation," conclude Nakamoto et al.
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