Proposal regarding potential causes related to certain complications with dental implants and adjacent natural teeth: Physics applied to prosthodontics

Gary Goldstein, Charles Goodacre, Marion S. Brown, Dennis P. Tarnow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Complications can and do occur with implants and their restorations with causes having been proposed for some single implant complications but not for others. Methods: A review of pertinent literature was conducted. A PubMed search of vibration, movement, and dentistry had 175 citations, while stress waves, movement, and dentistry had zero citations as did stress waves, movement. This paper discusses the physics of vibration, elastic and inelastic collision, and stress waves as potentially causative factors related to clinical complications. Results: Multiple potential causes for interproximal contact loss have been presented, but it has not been fully understood. Likewise, theories have been suggested regarding the intrusion of natural teeth when they are connected to an implant as part of a fixed partial denture as well as intrusion when a tooth is located between adjacent implants, but the process of intrusion, and resultant extrusion, is not fully understood. A third complication with single implants and their crowns is abutment screw loosening with several of the clinical characteristics having been discussed but without determining the underlying process(es). Conclusions: Interproximal contact loss, natural tooth intrusion, and abutment screw loosening are common complications that occur with implant retained restorations. Occlusion is a significant confounding variable. The hypothesis is that vibration, or possibly stress waves, generated from occlusal impact forces on implant crowns and transmitted to adjacent teeth, are the causative factors in these events. Since occlusion appears to play a role in these complications, it is recommended that occlusal contacts provide centralized stability on implant crowns and not be located on any inclined surfaces that transmit lateral forces that could be transmitted to an adjacent tooth and cause interproximal contact loss or intrusion. The intensity, form, and location of proximal contacts between a natural tooth located between adjacent single implant crowns seem to play a role in the intrusion of the natural tooth. Currently, there is a lack of information about the underlying mechanisms related to these occurrences and research is needed to define any confounding variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Prosthodontics
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • causes
  • implants
  • intrusion
  • loss of interproximal contact
  • screw loosening
  • vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Proposal regarding potential causes related to certain complications with dental implants and adjacent natural teeth: Physics applied to prosthodontics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this