New research suggests there is a strong correlation between obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and complications with previously implanted oral prosthetics.

OSA is a relatively common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing. The sleep disorder has been linked to sleep bruxism, a condition where a person clenches and tightens the jaw creating excessive grinding of the teeth during sleep.

While both conditions have been linked to several health issues, no previous studies linked OSA to prosthetic complications.

To investigate how OSA affects implant-borne prostheses, the new study took 67 patients and analysed the frequency with which a complication occurred and the type of complication. Contradictory to their initial hypothesis, the researchers found a high instance of complications related to OSA.

Of the 67 patients, the study found that 16 experienced complications; 13 of which had OSA. Among these 16 patients with complications, there were 22 prostheses with a total of 30 issues.

The researchers found these complications consisted of porcelain fracture, fracture of the screw/implant, loosening of the screw, and decementation.

The average time for a complication to occur was 73 months post-implantation.

OSA and bruxism

During the study, which was carried out in Spain, the researchers also noted a strong relation between individuals who suffer from OSA and those who suffer from bruxism.

Past studies revealed that those afflicted with bruxism had a higher instance (6/10) of complications with implant prostheses than those without bruxism (13/75). This shows that people suffering from OSA and/or bruxism have a more difficult time with successful prosthetic implantation.

The researchers note that: ‘Among dental practitioners, there has been increasing awareness of the reciprocal relationship between obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and dental diseases. One new aspect of interest would be the occurrence of technical complication in fixed prosthodontics.’

This study shows that 81% of patients with OSA experienced complications with their prostheses. Given that the success rate of implants is reported to be between 92% and 97%, there is a strong correlation between OSA and prosthetic complications.

The researchers believe that additional exploration on the correlation between OSA and implant complications is necessary to further understand the risk factors and frequencies of these occurrences.

The study was published in the Journal of Oral Implantology, the full text of the article can be found here.