Modified Edentulous Ridge Expansion Technique and Immediate Implant Placement: A 3-Year Follow-Up

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Restoration of the edentulous alveolar ridge with implants often requires the ridge width to be augmented to allow its placement. The aim of this study was to evaluate the split-crest technique, with subepithelial connective tissue graft used as biological barrier, in patients with narrow ridges, focusing on the status of soft and hard tissues and on implant success rate, at 36 months after implant loading. Thirteen patients (6 males and 7 females), ages 32-68 years (mean 49.4 years) with an atrophic maxillary jaw underwent modified edentulous ridge expansion technique for implant placement. A total of 33 Laser-Lok tapered internal implant, were placed in the maxilla. The following parameters were evaluated: (1) initial ridge width (time t0); (2) ridge width at the time of abutment connection (time t1); four months after implants placement, healing abutments were connected and the prosthetic rehabilitation was initiated, and all patients were evaluated clinically and radiographically with periapical radiograph at intervals of 3-6 months for the first year and annually thereafter for 3 years. The ridge width was measured with a cone beam computed tomography. The initial ridge width ranged from 3.5 mm to 7 mm (mean: 4.67 mm), while at the end of the expansion procedure the width ranged from 6.3 mm to 11.0 mm (mean: 8.2 mm). The width gain of the edentulous ridge ranged from 1.45-4.9 mm (mean: 3.5 mm). Two implants became exposed 1 month after surgery. One implant was lost before loading (3%). The diameter of failed implant was 5.8 mm and length was 10.5 mm. The remaining 32 implants were stable and free of complications at the end of the study. Thus, the implant survival rate was 97%. Because no implant failed after loading, the cumulative survival rate of loaded implants was 100%. The minimally invasive regenerative technique presented here avoids the use of bone graft, secondary surgery for soft tissue augmentation, and mechanical expansion devices. However, the follow-up period for outcome evaluation and exiguous patient's number in this series was limited.

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