For nearly 50 years, the unique design of the blade implant and the ease of inserting it into a patient’s mouth have made it popular among oral surgeons. As the implant’s golden jubilee approaches, some of its original designers take a new look at a creation that has “passed the test of time.”
The authors of an article published in the current issue of the Journal of Oral Implantology explain the success of blade implants. These implants were put into use under the name “blade vent” as early as 1968. Their creation and long use grew from the question, as the authors put it, “How could one expect to re-enter…5 or 10 years after the teeth were lost with an implant resembling the root of a tooth when most of the depth and width of bone needed for support has been lost?”
The blade implant was created for teeth with shallow, knife-thin ridges. Like other implants, the blade-implant implant holds artificial teeth in place. However, instead of using the bone’s vertical and width dimension for primary support, the wedge-shaped long thin body utilizes height and the length of the implant’s body within the bone for support. Utilizing increased length for support allows for greater angled horizontal loading. Additionally, large openings in the implant’s body allow surrounding bone to grow into and around the implants body.
The blade implant has advantages over other implant types. Blade implants do not need to be stabilized immediately and can stay in place, unsupported, for months. Additionally, the blade implant’s thinness causes little disruption to living tissue and fits easily into narrow bone. It not only holds up well under stress and is able to resist lateral forces, similarly to a natural tooth.
Oral surgeons find the blade implant easy to insert, allowing them to place it in most sites. Although care must be taken to place the implant correctly, surgery is typically clean and quick. Simply angling the blade can avoid undercuts or concavities, and the wound can be closed with plain interrupted sutures.