Statement of problem: Significant strides in microvascular surgical techniques allow predictable restoration of bony and soft tissue orofacial defects. In combination with prosthetic rehabilitation, varying degrees of improvement in esthetics, speech intelligibility, and swallowing have been noted; however, the relative impact of conventional and implant-supported prostheses on restoration of masticatory function are not known. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether conventional or implant-supported dental prostheses and current surgical reconstructive procedures restore patients' masticatory function to presurgical levels. Material and methods: Of the 46 subjects enrolled in this study, 23 (7 edentulous and 16 partially dentate) completed conventional prosthesis (CP) treatment and masticatory evaluation, and of these, 15 (3 edentulous and 12 partially dentate) completed treatment and evaluation with an implant-supported prosthesis (IP). Standardized masticatory performance tests with peanuts and carrots as the test food were made on the defect and nondefect sides. Tests of swallowing threshold performance were made with carrots as the test food. Statistical analysis included repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc Tukey HSD tests (α=.05). Results: Masticatory function at entry was markedly compromised. Further performance declines were noted following surgery (PS) on both the defect and nondefect sides. Restoration with CP and IP produced improvements (significant for defect side only, P<.05) in performance over the PS interval and were not significantly different from performances at entry prior to surgery. In addition, the performance on the defect side with the IP was significantly greater than the performance with the CP (P<.001). Conclusion: Impairment in masticatory ability remains following free-flap reconstruction prior to prosthetic rehabilitation. Both CP and IP may provide improved masticatory ability, permitting patients to regain the functional level they possessed prior to surgical intervention. The IP may contribute to greater support and stability of the prosthesis, resulting in increased use for mastication and superior performance on the defect side compared to the CP.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Oral Surgery