A Protocol for Maintaining or Increasing the Width of Masticatory Mucosa Around Submerged Implants: A 1-year Prospective Study on 53 Patients
Masticatory mucosa around implants may be useful to enhance esthetics and/or plaque control. This study proposes simplified guidelines for maintaining or obtaining a minimal amount of masticatory mucosa around submerged implants in cases of partial edentulism, and for keeping the need for additional surgery to a minimum. Free gingival grafts were used in the mandibular arch when the width of buccal masticatory mucosa was less than 2 mm. The width of masticatory mucosa expected to be available for attachment to the bone surface buccal to implants was estimated by measuring the distance between the emergence of the implant from bone and the mucogingival junction. When this distance was 3 mm or less, the use of an apically positioned flap for implant exposure was preferred over gingivectomy. The amount of masticastory mucosa buccal to implants was measured 2 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after implant exposure. In no case was the width of masticatory mucosa less than 2 mm at 1 year. Therefore, this protocol is recommended for the treatment of cases where the presence of an adequate amount of masticatory mucosa is necessary to ensure a satisfying appearance or is useful for facilitating oral hygiene.