AIM: The aim of this study was to analyze marginal bone loss (MBL) rates around implants to establish the difference between physiological bone loss and bone loss due to peri-implantitis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Five hundred and eight implants were placed in the posterior maxilla in 208 patients. Data were gathered on age, gender, bone substratum (grafted or pristine), prosthetic connection, smoking and alcohol habits, and previous periodontitis. MBL was radiographically analyzed in three time frames (5 months post-surgery and at 6 and 18 months post-loading). Nonparametric receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis and mixed linear model analysis were used to determine whether implants could be classified as high or low bone loser type (BLT) and to establish the influence of this factor on MBL rates. RESULTS: Marginal bone loss rates were significantly affected by BLT, connection type, bone substratum, and smoking. Bone loss rates at 18 months were associated with initial bone loss rates: 96% of implants with an MBL of >2 mm at 18 months had lost 0.44 mm or more at 6 months post-loading. CONCLUSION: Implants with increased MBL rates at early stages (healing and immediate post-loading periods) are likely to reach MBL values that compromise their final outcome. Initial (healing, immediate post-loading) MBL rates around an implant of more than 0.44 mm/year are an indication of peri-implant bone loss progression.
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