Proper implant occlusion is essential for adequate oral function and the prevention of adverse consequences, such as implant overloading. Dental implants are thought to be more prone to occlusal overloading than natural teeth because of the loss of the periodontal ligament, which provides shock absorption and periodontal mechanoreceptors, which provide tactile sensitivity and proprioceptive motion feedback. Although many guidelines and theories on implant occlusion have been proposed, few have provided strong supportive evidence. Thus, we performed a narrative literature review to ascertain the influence of implant occlusion on the occurrence of complications of implant treatment and discuss the clinical considerations focused on the overloading factors at present. The search terms were 'dental implant', 'dental implantation', 'dental occlusion' and 'dental prosthesis'. The inclusion criteria were literature published in English up to September 2013. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), prospective cohort studies and case-control studies with at least 20 cases and 12 months follow-up interval were included. Based on the selected literature, this review explores factors related to the implant prosthesis (cantilever, crown/implant ratio, premature contact, occlusal scheme, implant-abutment connection, splinting implants and tooth-implant connection) and other considerations, such as the number, diameter, length and angulation of implants. Over 700 abstracts were reviewed, from which more than 30 manuscripts were included. We found insufficient evidence to establish firm clinical guidelines for implant occlusion. To discuss the ideal occlusion for implants, further well-designed RCTs are required in the future.
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