The critical peri-implant buccal bone wall thickness revisited: an experimental study in the beagle dog

The International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants 2019 Nov/Dec; 34(6):1328 1336

OBJECTIVE

There is a lack of knowledge concerning the critical buccal bone thickness required for securing favorable functional and esthetic outcomes, conditioned to the dimensional changes after implant placement. A preclinical study was therefore carried out to identify the critical buccal bone wall thickness for minimizing bone resorption during physiologic and pathologic bone remodeling.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

A randomized, two-arm in vivo study in healthy beagle dogs was carried out. The first group of dogs was sacrificed 8 weeks after implant placement for histomorphometric examination of postsurgical resorption of the buccal bone wall. The second group of dogs was monitored during three ligature-induced peri-implantitis episodes and a spontaneous progression episode. Morphometric and clinical variables were defined for the study of physiologic and pathologic buccal and lingual bone loss.

RESULTS

Seventy-two implants were placed in healed mandibular ridges of 12 beagle dogs. Two groups were defined: 36 implants were placed in sites with a thin buccal bone wall (< 1.5 mm), and 36 were placed in sites with a thick buccal bone wall (≥ 1.5 mm). No implants failed during the study period. For the great majority of the histomorphometric parameters, a critical buccal bone wall thickness of at least 1.5 mm seemed to be essential for maintaining the buccal bone wall during physiologic and pathologic bone resorption. Suppuration (+) and mucosal recession (-) were more often associated with implants placed in sites with a thin buccal bone wall.

CONCLUSION

A critical buccal bone wall thickness of 1.5 mm at implant placement is advised, since a thicker peri-implant buccal bone wall (≥ 1.5 mm) is exposed to significantly less physiologic and pathologic bone loss compared with a thinner buccal bone wall (< 1.5 mm).

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