Influence of Vertical Soft Tissue Thickness on Crestal Bone Changes Around Implants with Platform Switching: A Comparative Clinical Study

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Abstract

Background:

Numerous studies have shown the superiority of platform-switched implants in preserving crestal bone as compared with platform-matched implants. However, the influence of initial soft tissue thickness on development of crestal bone loss has not been addressed in previous studies; thus, further research is needed.

Purpose:

To evaluate crestal bone levels around platform-switched implants placed in thin and thick mucosal tissue.

Materials and Methods:

Eighty patients (38 male and 42 female, mean age 44 ± 3.34 years) received 80 bone-level implants of 4.1 mm in diameter with platform switching (Institut Straumann AG, Basel, Switzerland). Tissue thickness was measured, and cases were distributed to Group 1, with thin soft tissue (2 mm or less, n = 40), and Group 2, with thick tissue (more than 2 mm, n = 40). Implants were placed with a one-stage approach and restored with screw-retained restorations. Radiographic examination was performed after implant placement, 2 months after healing, after restoration, and at 1-year follow-up post-reconstruction. Crestal bone loss was calculated. The Mann-Whitney U-test was applied, and significance was set to p ≤ .05.

Results:

Implants in Group 1 (thin tissue) showed 0.79 mm of bone loss after 2 months. After 1-year follow-up, bone loss was 1.17 mm. Implants in Group 2 (thick tissue) showed bone loss of 0.17 mm after 2 months of implant placement and 0.21 mm after 1-year follow-up. The differences between groups were significant (p < .001) at both time points.

Conclusions:

It can be concluded that platform switching does not prevent crestal bone loss if, at the time of implant placement, mucosal tissue is thin. In thick soft tissue, use of platform-switched implants maintained crestal bone level with minimal remodeling.

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