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Heat generated during seating of dental implant fixtures.

  • Flanagan, Dennis1
  • 1 Private practice, Willimantic, Conn.
Published Article
The Journal of oral implantology
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2014
DOI: 10.1563/AAID-JOI-D-13-00261
PMID: 24400840


Frictional heat can be generated during seating of dental implants into a drill-prepared osteotomy. This in vitro study tested the heat generated by implant seating in dense bovine mandible ramus. A thermocouple was placed approximately 0.5 mm from the rim of the osteotomy during seating of each dental implant. Four diameters of implants were tested. The average temperature increases were 0.075°C for the 5.7-mm-diameter implant, 0.97°C for the 4.7-mm-diameter implant, 1.4°C for the 3.7-mm-diameter implant, and 8.6°C for the 2.5-mm-diameter implant. The results showed that heat was indeed generated and a small temperature rise occurred, apparently by the friction of the implant surface against the fresh-cut bone surface. Bone is a poor thermal conductor. The titanium of the implant and the steel of the handpiece are much better heat conductors. Titanium may be 70 times more heat conductive than bone. The larger diameter and displacement implant may act as a heat sink to draw away any heat produced from the friction of seating the implant at the bone-implant interface. The peak temperature duration was momentary, and not measured, but this was approximately less than 1 second. Except for the 2.5-mm-diameter implants, the temperature rises and durations were found to be below those previously deemed to be detrimental, so no clinically significant osseous damage would be expected during dental implant fixture seating of standard and large-diameter-sized implants. A 2.5-mm implant may generate detrimental heat during seating in nonvital bone, but this may be clinically insignificant in vital bone. The surface area and thermal conductivity are important factors in removing generated heat transfer at the bone-implant interface. The F value as determined by analysis of variance was 69.22, and the P value was less than .0001, demonstrating significant differences between the groups considered as a whole.

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