Author(s): Jeong SM
BACKGROUND: Traditional flapless implant surgery using a soft tissue punch device requires a circumferential excision of keratinized tissue at the implant site. A new flapless implant technique that can submerge implant fixtures is needed. PURPOSE: This article describes a flapless implant surgery method using a mini-incision and compares the effects of soft tissue punch and mini-incision surgery on both the amount of osseointegration and the bone height around the implants using a canine mandible model. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Bilateral, edentulated, flat alveolar ridges were created in the mandibles of six mongrel dogs. After a 3-month healing period, two implants were placed on each side of the mandible using either soft tissue punch or mini-incision procedures. After an additional 3-month healing period, a second stage surgery and transmucosal abutment attachment was performed for mini-incision implant cases. Following a 2-month healing period, the dogs were sacrificed to evaluate the osseointegration and bone height around the implants. RESULTS: Average bone height was 9.6 ± 0.4 mm in the soft tissue punch group and 9.8 ± 0.3 mm in the mini-incision group (p > .05). Average osseointegration was 70.4 ± 6.3% in the soft tissue punch group and 71.2 ± 7.1% in the mini-incision group (p > .05). No significant differences were noted between the two groups in vertical alveolar ridge height or bone/implant contact. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the clinical use of mini-incision implant surgery at sites where implants need to be protected below the soft tissue during the early phase of healing, particularly for patients with poor bone quality and/or low primary implant stability.