Split Palatal Flap. II. A Surgical Approach for Maxillary Implant Uncovering in Cases with Reduced Keratinized Tissue: Technique and Clinical Results
Carlos E. Nemcovsky, DMD/Zvi Artzi, DMD
It is generally accepted that a more ideal and functional soft tissue-implant interface can be established if there is an adequate zone of keratinized mucosa around endosseous dental implants. The purpose of this article was to describe a surgical procedure, based on the use of a split palatal flap, which predictably creates or increases the zone of keratinized tissue around implants at the time of implant uncovering. It is especially useful for maxillary implants with a nonexistent or minimal width of keratinized buccal tissue. The study comprised 34 implants in the maxillae of 8 patients, who were chosen because they had minimal or nonexistent buccal keratinized gingiva prior to implant uncovering. Following healing, between 2 and 5 mm of keratinized gingiva (mean 3.7 mm) could be measured buccally at all abutments. Postsurgical inconveniences were minimal. The use of a split palatal flap at implant uncovering minimizes the number of surgical stages and sites necessary, while predictably providing an adequate zone of buccal keratinized gingiva.