Correction of Buccal Fenetration Defects
Aesthetic Buccal Flap Design
Marius Steigmann, DDS
This case study presents a method to correct apical dehiscences using an ABF. Upon completion of this case study, the reader should:
- Be aware of a clinical protocol that applies an ABF to correct the buccal apical fenestration.
- Recognize the criteria for performing an ABF procedure.
In contrast to the focus on successful osseointegration that characterized the early years of implant dentistry, contemporary practitioners are primarily concerned with achieving the most natural-looking smile possible through implant placement procedures that preserve the anatomy of the soft tissue. When a single tooth is compromised and the gingiva and surrounding osseous structures remain healthy, flapless surgery with immediate implant placement provides an excellent means by which to maintain the natural soft tissue contours. However, when the development of an apical fenestration compromises the soft tissue and surrounding osseous structures, the creation of a full mucoperiosteal flap is required, and the subsequent healing of the soft tissue can have negative impacts on the aesthetic outcome.
When the soft tissue presents no sign of recession, and only limited interproximal resorption of the bone has occurred, an aesthetic buccal flap (ABF) may be utilized to correct buccal apical fenestration while maintaining the overall aesthetic appearance. This technique employs guided bone regeneration (GBR) to preserve the natural supraosseous soft tissue profile.
The ABF technique presented here is appropriate for single-tooth applications or when no more than two adjoining teeth require augmentation, as the creation of larger flaps poses too large a risk of necrosis. Furthermore, this technique is appropriate only for correcting apical buccal defects and is only applicable when the supporting interproximal crest has not undergone significant osseous resorption.
The ABF design is particularly beneficial in aesthetically sensitive areas (eg, the maxillary anterior region). In order to maintain a natural-looking result, the soft-tissue housing must be preserved. This technique allows a clinician to ensure soft tissue aesthetics, even when localized bone deficiencies have developed prior to or during implant-placement surgery.
*Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts; private practice, Heidelberg, Germany.
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