Background and aim: Dental implant patients are frequently required to undergo a second-stage/uncovery procedure to expose the implant fixture. The aim of the present prospective study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of the vestibular split rolling flap (VSRF) versus the double door mucoperiosteal flap (DDMF) techniques at adjacent posterior implant sites during the second-stage procedure.
Materials and methods: A total of 44 uncovered posterior dental implants in 10 healthy patients were treated at the second stage. All the mesial implants were assigned to the VSRF technique (group A) and the distal implants to the DDMF technique (group B). Soft tissue measurements were performed as vestibular keratinized mucosal width (KMW) and vestibular mucosal thickness (MT) over a period of 1 year, assessed at four different intervals.
Results: Healing was uneventful at all sites. There were no patient dropouts in the entire study time frame. The clinical comparison of the adjacent implants showed overall higher MT measurements at 12 months for group A (2.5 ± 0.2 mm) compared with group B (1.00 ± 0.3 mm), and for KMW measurements for group A (2.5 ± 0.2 mm) compared with group B (2.0 ± 0.3 mm).
Conclusions: The VSRF technique described in the present article is a reliable method for performing an implant uncovery. If the technique is applied according to the indication and with a minimally invasive protocol, it is preferable to other conventional exposure techniques due to its ability to provide enhanced soft tissue volume around the implant, which can in turn benefit the health, esthetics, function, and long-term stability of the peri-implant tissue.