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Avoiding Post-Implant Placement and Long Term Crestal Bone Resorption by Thickening Vertical Soft Tissue

Tamir Wardany, D.D.S.


Our patient is a 60 year old caucasian male that had just finished a large ridge augmentation in the area of #4 and #5. We used the sausage technique for the ridge augmentation and yielded excellent bone volume in this area. However, as we began the 2nd stage implant placement procedure, we noticed, as is frequently seen following a large ridge augmentation, very thin vertical soft tissue over the crest of the bone. We know that inadequate soft tissue thickness will lead to compromised vasculature and transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the bone which can absolutely lead to a loss of crestal bone surrounding the implants.


Low RiskMedium RiskHigh Risk
Patient’s healthIntact immune system Light smokerImpaired immune system 
Patient’s esthetic requirementsLowMediumHigh
Height of smile lineLowMediumHigh
Gingival biotypeThick – “low scalloped”Medium – “medium scalloped”Thin – “high scalloped”
Shape of dental crownsRectangularTriangular
Infection at implant sightNoneChronicAcute
Bone height at adjacent tooth site≤ 5 mm from contact point5.5 – 6.5 mm from contact point≥ 7 mm from contact point
Restorative status of adjacent toothIntactRestored
Width of tooth gap1 tooth (≥ 7 mm)1 tooth (≤ 7 mm)2 teeth or more
Soft-tissue anatomyIntactCompromised
Bone anatomy of the alveolar ridgeNo defectHorizontal defectVertical defect

Note: Bone was augmented prior to this case report due to a severe horizontal defect.
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Our goal here is to create increased vertical soft tissue thickness over the crest of the implant site. Following implant placement and placement of the cover screws, we used Geistlich Fibro-Gide® over the implants and then layed it over the crest and buccal aspect. Following the placement of Geistlich Fibro-Gide®, we gently released the full thickness flap so that we can achieve tension-free primary closure over the site.

6 months following horizontal ridge augmentation, using Dr. Urban’s sausage technique, we re-entered the site for implant placement using a full thickness flap with no vertical incisions, to not disrupt collateral blood supply. There is excellent bone volume, but a very thin vertical soft tissue volume over the crest of the implant site.
Straumann implants are placed in sites #4 and #5 to a 25Ncm torque value with no issues and the cover screws were placed.
Geistlich Fibro-Gide® is placed crestally over the implants and draped to the buccal and slightly towards the lingual. Geistlich Fibro-Gide® was trimmed slightly to minimize the thickness of the material.
The flap was released so that we can achieve tension-free primary closure over the implant and the Geistlich Fibro-Gide® soft tissue augmentation site.
Following an 8 week healing period, we make a crestal incision and lay a conservative full-thickness flap to uncover the implants. We observe a 3-4 mm increase in verticle soft tissue thickness over the implant site.
We allow 3 weeks following the initial uncovering and can now see beautiful soft tissue architecture surrounding the implants.
Prior to the restorative process we see the pre-restorative radiograph with the healing abutments in place and we can also observe excellent crestal bone levels around the implants.
1 year follow-up. The restorative dentist opted to splint the crowns together. The patient did not want implants posterior to this area and he did not want any sinus augmentation as he had a history of sinus issues.

The use of Geistlich Fibro-Gide® is a wonderful alternative to using a connective tissue graft to thicken vertical soft tissue, which will help minimize crestal bone loss around implants.


The soft tissue that will now surround the implant site is thick and healthy due to the use of Geistlich Fibro-Gide® at the time of implant placement. This is a simple technique and only requires a minimal amount of flap release to achieve tension-free primary closure over the site. The results are phenomenal and will be beneficial for the stability of the crestal bone surrounding the implants for years to come.

1-year follow-up. The restorative dentist opted to splint the crowns together. The patient did not want implants posterior to this area, and he did not want any sinus augmentation as he had a history of sinus issues.

Thin vertical soft tissue over the implant site following ridge augmentation is one of the key factors which may lead to crestal bone loss around the implants that will be placed.

Tamir Wardany, D.D.S.

I find the Mini-Me Periosteal to be my most versatile instrument for all my hard and soft tissue cases. I always have this instrument out on my surgical tray.

Tamir Wardany, D.D.S.

Beginning with thin soft tissue, we were able to achieve very thick and healthy vertical soft tissue over the implants, which will improve blood flow to the bone and minimize crestal bone loss in future.

Tamir Wardany, D.D.S.

Tamir Wardany, D.D.S.

Dr. Wardany is a graduate of Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, TN. After completion of a dental implant fellowship through State University of New York Stonybrook, he continues to spend extensive time in Europe training under Dr. Istvan Urban in the field of advanced bone and soft tissue regeneration.

He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Implantology, and lectures extensively on the topic of bone regeneration. He maintains a referral based surgical implant practice in San Francisco and Sacramento, California.


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