Soft Tissue Augmentation Procedures for Mucogingival Defects in Esthetic Sites
Robert A. Levine, DDS, FCPP/Guy Huynh-Ba, DDS, Dr Med Dent, MS/David L. Cochran, DDS, MS, PhD, MMSci, Dr hc
Purpose: This systematic review was performed to address the focus question: In adult patients with soft tissue deficiencies around maxillary anterior implants, what is the effect on esthetic outcomes when a soft tissue procedure is performed? In addition, this paper reviews the importance of presurgical esthetic risk assessment (ERA) starting with comprehensive team case planning prior to surgical intervention and a restorative-driven approach. Materials and Methods: A thorough Medline database search performed on related MeSH terms yielded 1,532 titles and selected abstracts that were independently screened. Out of the 351 abstracts selected, 123 full-text articles were obtained for further evaluation. At each level, any disagreements were discussed until a consensus was reached. Results: A total of 18 studies were included in this systematic review of esthetic outcomes following soft tissue procedures around implants with soft tissue deficiencies. A preliminary analysis of the included studies showed that the vast majority were case series studies with most not providing objective outcomes of their results. Moreover, only one randomized controlled trial was identified. Therefore, quantitative data analysis and subsequent meta-analysis could not be performed. The included studies were grouped according to the intervention on the peri-implant soft tissue performed and six groups were identified. The periodontal procedures performed around dental implants gave initial good results from the inflammation involved in wound healing, but in virtually all cases significant recession occurred as healing resolved and the tissues matured. Conclusions: Although success of implant therapy is similar in the anterior maxilla and other areas of the mouth, the majority of studies evaluating this therapy in the esthetic zone are lacking literature support, few in number, devoid of long-term follow-up and number of patients, and are subject to inclusion bias. The use of the ERA tool for all esthetic zone cases can benefit both the clinician and the patient to avoid any miscommunication and problems of expectation upon completion. All the available knowledge on this topic, including the approaches described in this paper, is based on a very limited literature support and thus should be addressed with caution. These concerns should encourage long-term good clinical trials for better assessment of those issues.