Clinical implant dentistry and related research vol:3 issue:3 pages:148-55
BACKGROUND: The innervation of skin and oral mucosa plays a major physiologic role in exteroception. It is also of interest clinically, as illustrated by sensory changes after neurosurgical procedures. PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to assess the perception of mechanical stimuli applied to the anterior maxilla in denture wearers and subjects rehabilitated with osseointegrated implants compared with that in subjects with a natural dentition. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Five groups of subjects were selected and tested in the maxillary region only. Test groups included patients with a complete denture, an implant-supported fixed prosthesis (full or partial), or a single-tooth replacement. Light-touch sensation and two-point discrimination were performed on the buccal side of the alveolar mucosa and vibrotactile function was determined for natural teeth, full dentures, or implant-supported prostheses. RESULTS: For light-touch sensation, no significant differences could be found between the groups. For two-point discrimination, full-denture patients showed higher threshold levels than the other groups. The threshold levels for vibrotactile function were higher in both full dentures and implant-supported prostheses compared with natural dentitions. CONCLUSION: Natural dentitions offer superior vibrotactile function compared to any other dental status. Full dentures often show a stronger deterioration of the (vibro)tactile function compared with implant-supported prostheses.