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Phenotype Conversion Using Geistlich Fibro-Gide® for Immediate Implants in the Esthetic Zone

Dr. Robert A. Levine


A healthy non-smoking 50-year-old female patient who desires a single tooth solution to replace a non-restorable tooth, #12. A root fracture at the level of the palatal post was diagnosed in a root canaled tooth. Maintaining esthetics of the adjacent teeth is important as they are also restored with single full coverage porcelain crowns. Lastly, treatment time reduction and a minimally invasive surgical technique are desired by the patient for reduced downtime and post-operative morbidity.


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
Patients Esthetic Expectations: Realistic
Facial Bone Wall Phenotype: High Risk (<1mm)
Esthetic Risk Profile (ERP) = Medium (summary of above)
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A minimally invasive surgical removal of tooth #12 with maintenance of the buccal plate and leaving a 3mm buccal gap. The implant will be placed one mm below the level of the intact buccal plate with an anatomically correct surgical guide template to provide for a screw-retained solution. The gap will be filled with Geistlich Bio-Oss Collagen® to maintain the bone buccal to the implant, and a palate free approach utilizing Geistlich Fibro-Gide® for soft tissue thickening to accomplish “phenotype conversion.” The long-term surgical goal is >2-3mm thickness of both hard and soft tissue buccal to the implant.

Pre-operative assessment demonstrates minimal zone and thickness of buccal keratinized gingiva, with a medium periodontal phenotype.
Pre-operative CBCT with virtually planned implant placement. A thin buccal plate (<1mm) is measured. Good apical bone is noted for the placement of a Straumann® 12mmx4.1mm bone level tapered implant.
Minimally invasive removal of #12 using only a buccal approach mini-flap showing an intact buccal plate with immediate placement of the implant (1 mm below the intact buccal wall) in a screw-retained position. A 3mm buccal gap is measured and a 1.5mm palatal gap.
Both the buccal and palatal gaps have been packed with Geistlich Bio-Oss Collagen® hydrated with Gem 21S. It’s my preference to squeeze Geistlich Fbro-Gide® between thumb and forefinger, prior to placement. A dry-carved piece of Geistlich Fibro-Gide® is in position thinned approximately 2mm with beveling laterally and coronally with a new #15 blade.
Geistlich Fibro-Gide® in place facial to the intact buccal wall under a full thickness buccal approach mini-flap. Immediate contour management was completed using an Anatotemp® for a maxillary bicuspid tooth.
Suturing completed using 4-0PTFE and 5 -0 polypropylene non-resorbable sutures. Anticipated short-term 25% post-operative swelling is discussed with the patient.
3 months post-operative appointment showing a well-developed subgingival transition zone created with immediate contour management. A reverse torque test was completed, and the case proceeded to completion.
9 month post-operative view with final screw-retained crown in place. Good interproximal papilla healing is noted with thickening of the buccal periodontal phenotype compared with Fig. #1. (Restorative Therapy: Drew Shulman DMD, MAGD; Philadelphia, PA)

“High esthetic demands were the primary concern with this case. They were addressed with the diagnostic tools of clinical photos, a site specific CBCT to evaluate the buccal wall status, and summing the findings with patient expectations gathered using the Esthetic Risk Assessment (knee-to-knee; eye-to-eye) which is used along with our consent agreement to treatment.”


Minimally invasive surgery for buccal wall maintenance, virtually planning the buccal gap and implant width, using a xenograft in the buccal gap with phenotype conversion using a volume stable collagen matrix in conjuction with immediate contour management, allows for the best chance for papillae fill interproximally and maintenance of the mid-buccal gingival margin long-term.

Virtual planning the implant width for a screw-retained prosthesis based on an intact buccal wall after extraction to allow for a buccal gap of >2mm to be grafted are important keys for esthetic success.”

Dr. Robert A. Levine

The importance of the ‘one-two punch’ of ROUTINE phenotype-conversion using Geistlich Fibro-Gide® in conjunction with bone grafting the >2mm buccal gap with Geistlich Bio-Oss Collagen® provides excellent buccal convex tissue maintenance long-term.”

Dr. Robert A. Levine

Dr. Robert A. Levine

Robert A. Levine DDS is a board-certified periodontist at the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics in Philadelphia. He is a Fellow of the International Team for Dental Implantology (ITI), College of Physicians in Philadelphia, International Society of Periodontal Plastic Surgeons and the Academy of Osseointegration. He has post-graduate periodontology and implantology teaching appointments at Temple University in Philadelphia, UNC in Chapel Hill and UIC in Chicago and has over 80 scientific publications.