Objectives: The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the effect of vertical soft tissue thickness (STT) on crestal bone loss (CBL) of early loaded implants after 1 and 5 years. Method and materials: Forty-four tapered implants with platform switching and conical connection were placed in the posterior mandible and maxilla to rehabilitate edentulous sites. STT at implant sites was divided into two groups: thin (n = 21, mean STT = 2.0 ± 0.3 mm) and thick (n = 23, mean STT = 3.0 ± 0.8 mm). The implants were loaded after 6 to 8 weeks. Survival and success rates and CBL were measured after 1 and 5 years.
Keywords: crestal bone loss, dental implants, early loading, platform switching, soft tissue thickness
Results: The survival and success rates at 1 and 5 years were 100% and 97.8%, respectively. At the 1-year follow-up, the CBL of the thin and thick gingival groups was 0.96 ± 0.49 and 0.55 ± 0.41 mm, respectively; the difference was statistically significant (P = .004). At 5 years, the CBL of the thin and thick gingiva groups increased to 1.12 ± 0.84 and 0.65 ± 0.69 mm, respectively; the difference was not statistically significant (P = .052).
Conclusion: At 1 year, the CBL was more pronounced at sites with a thin gingiva; at 5 years the difference between the groups was not statisically significantly different. Within the limitations of this study, early loading of implants with platform switched and conical connection was safe.