Alveolar defects are characterized by missing soft and hard tissues. It is often necessary to combine secondary procedures to address the soft-tissue component. The authors describe a technique that uses a split-thickness flap design that is placed over the crest of the remaining ridge and extends in a palatal direction. This allows advancement of the flap with its exposed connective tissue over the bone graft and provides restoration of both bone and keratinized tissue. Seventeen patients with defects involving the anterior maxilla who required grafting procedures were including in this study. All patients had an autogenous bone graft (n = 17) combined with osseointegrated implants (n = 41). A split-thickness flap design was used at the time of bone graft placement (primary) in 9 patients and at the time of implant uncovering (secondary) in 8 patients. There were no cases of flap necrosis or dehiscence with exposure of the bone graft. All patients demonstrated an increase in keratinized tissue involving the peri-implant area. An apical repositioned split-thickness flap provides an increased zone of keratinized tissue with improved esthetics and implant maintenance. This technique can be performed simultaneously with the grafting procedure, thus avoiding extensive undermining of the adjacent soft tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery