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International Journal of Oral Implantology
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Int J Oral Implantol 3 (2010), No. 1     12. Apr. 2010
Int J Oral Implantol 3 (2010), No. 1  (12.04.2010)

Page 27-35, PubMed:20467596


Connective tissue grafts for thickening peri-implant tissues at implant placement. One-year results from an explanatory split-mouth randomised controlled clinical trial
Wiesner, Günter / Esposito, Marco / Worthington, Helen / Schlee, Markus
Objectives: To evaluate whether connective tissue grafts performed at implant placement could be effective in augmenting peri-implant soft tissues.
Materials and methods: Ten partially edentulous patients requiring at least one single implant in the premolar or molar areas of both sides of the mandible were randomised to have one side augmented at implant placement with a connective soft tissue graft harvested from the palate or no augmentation. After 3 months of submerged healing, abutments were placed and within 1 month definitive crowns were permanently cemented. Outcome measures were implant success, any complications, peri-implant marginal bone level changes, patient satisfaction and preference, thickness of the soft tissues and aesthetics (pink aesthetic score) evaluated by an independent and blinded assessor 1 year after loading.
Results: One year after loading, no patients dropped out, no implants failed and no complications occurred. Both groups lost statistically significant amounts of peri-implant bone 1 year after loading (0.8 mm in the grafted group and 0.6 mm in the non-grafted group), but there was no statistically significant difference between groups. Soft tissues at augmented sites were 1.3 mm thicker (P < 0.001) and had a significantly better pink aesthetic score (P < 0.001). Patients were highly satisfied (no statistically significant differences between treatments) though they preferred the aesthetics of the augmented sites (P = 0.031). However, five patients would not undergo the grafting procedure again and two were uncertain.
Conclusions: Connective tissue grafts are effective in increasing soft tissue thickness, thus improving aesthetics. Longer follow-ups are needed to evaluate the stability of peri-implant tissues over time.

Conflict of interest: Nothing to declare.

Keywords: aesthetic, connective tissue graft, dental implant, soft tissue augmentation, randomised controlled clinical trial