Clinical oral implants research vol:2 issue:2 pages:75-80
To clarify more of the tactile function of oral implants, both an interocclusal thickness detection and discrimination task were carried out in 4 different test conditions on 37 patients: t (tooth)/t, i (implant)/t, i/i and d (denture)/o (overdenture supported by implants). For the interocclusal detection of steel foils, the 50% detection threshold level (RL) in the 4 conditions was 20, 48, 64 and 108 microns, respectively, which indicates significant differences. The ability to discriminate interdental thickness differences was tested with a 0.2 and 1.0 mm standard. It was evaluated as the 75% discrimination level (DL). In the 0.2 mm discrimination task, corresponding DL-values for the t/t, i/t, i/i and d/o condition were 25, 55, 66 and 134 microns, whereas the 1.0 mm standard gave values of 193, 293, 336 and 348 microns, respectively. All results differed significantly from each other (p less than 0.05) except for the i/i-d/o comparison of the 1.0 mm discrimination task where the difference was negligible. The present findings indicate that the tactile sensibility of implants is reduced with regard to natural teeth. Remaining receptors of the peri-implant tissues might play a compensatory role in the decreased exteroceptive function.