With the aging of America, the number of people becoming edentulous, or losing their natural teeth, is increasing. While conventional dentures are the most common oral prosthesis, endosteal dental implants are gaining in popularity due to an increased quality of life, chewing and phonetic efficiency, and psychosocial health. Decreased lower extremity function is noted in those who use conventional dentures; however, little research as investigated the effects of implant therapy on physical function. The PURPOSE of this study was to compare lower extremity function, via vertical jump performance, in individuals with conventional dentures, mandibular implant overdenture opposing maxillary complete denture, and dentate controls.
METHODS: Three groups were tested: Dentate (n = 15, 60.3 ± 7.0 yrs, 1.8 ± 0.8 m, 85.8 ± 11.2 kg), Implant (n = 8, 66.0 ± 7.6 yrs, 1.6 ± 0.8 m, 71.7 ± 15.3 kg), and Conventional Dentures (n = 6, 62.5 ± 10.5 yrs, 1.7 ± 0.9 m, 80.3 ± 15.6 kg). Age and mass did not differ between groups. Following informed consent, ground reaction forces of five maximal jumps were collected (1050 Hz). Push off force, take off velocity, and jump height were determined. An ANOVA was performed on each variable to compare between groups. Tukey post-hoc tests were performed when appropriate. (α = 0.05)
RESULTS: Dentate individuals demonstrated greater (p < 0.001) push-off force (1935.3 ± 304.4 N) , take off velocity (1.77 ± 0.38 m/s), and jump height (16.7 ± 7.2 cm) compared to those with dental implants (1728.3 ± 402.7 N, 1.35 ± 0.43 m/s, 10.2 ± 6.8 cm respectively), who in turn showed greater values than those with conventional dentures (1464.9 ± 315.9 N, 1.14 ± 0.37 m/s, 7.3 ± 5.1 cm respectively).
CONCLUSION: These results can be due to a myriad of biomechanical, physiological, and socioeconomic factors. One plausible explanation is that because people with conventional dentures generate a smaller masticatory force and cannot fully breakdown food prior to swallowing, they may not able to eat/process the same quality of protein and thus may have less lean mass and more fat mass than their dentate counterparts. Although body mass was not different between groups, we did not assess body composition. Future research is necessary to understand how and why each type of oral prosthesis affects lower extremity function in this manner.