Dental prostheses (known as bridges) can be immediately placed on replacement teeth with highly predictable outcomes during jaw reconstruction that involves taking bone from the patient’s leg, a new US study has found.
Changes to traditional jaw reconstruction using the fibula—the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg that is removed with an artery, vein and soft tissue, known as a fibula free flap—can help limit problems with soft tissue and prosthetics.
This technique—described in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery—can be used on certain patients who need skin paddles which includes skin taken with the leg bone to fix soft-tissue defects.
The researchers explained their use of simultaneous skin paddles and a floating prosthesis for accurately attaching the prosthesis to replacement teeth (i.e. dental implants) while the fibula receives blood supply on the leg.
The study involved 22 patients who underwent reconstruction of their upper or lower jaw using the fibula, received immediate dental implants and immediate bridgework, and were tracked for at least three months.
Of the 95 dental implants placed, 92 fused with the jawbone, known as integration, indicating dental implant success. All 36 dental implants that were next to skin paddles in 10 patients integrated. Overall, the dental implant success rate was 93 per cent within nine to 15 months after surgery.