A simple procedure makes implant patients smile



When a patient’s gums have pulled away from a tooth, surgeons often feel they need to attach tissue taken from another part of the their mouth before placing a dental implant—a painful prospect for the patient.

(Researchers do not yet agree on how much tissue is needed around an implant to keep the area healthy. However, it is clear that some tissue improves facial appearance and keeps food from becoming trapped in the space.)

But a study published in the current issue of Journal of Oral Implantology suggests there may be a better option that does not require a separate surgery—one that is fast, affordable, less painful and that ultimately improves the patient’s smile.

In his paper, author William Liang from Continuing Dental Education at the University of British Columbia in Canada, describes two cases where he used something called the vascularized buccal inversion flap (VBIF) technique.

The technique involves neatly closing the soft tissue around the implant which improves the shape of the gums as soon as the implant is placed.

Liang observed that the tidy closure means there is less chance of gum disease than with other methods used to attach gum tissue to an implant.

Moreover, because the exact position of the implant is not critical, the technique gives the surgeon much greater flexibility.

“The magic is in the magician, not the wand,” said Liang. “The achievement of clinical excellence is ultimately in the clinician’s hands. Thoughtful and precise application of surgical techniques may provide a better clinical outcome regardless of the type of dental implant used.”

The article concludes that the numerous advantages of VBIF can improve the results of implant placement.

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