Do soft tissue augmentation techniques provide stable and favorable peri-implant conditions in the medium and long term? A systematic review

Clin Oral Implants Res. 2023 Sep:34 Suppl 26:28-42. doi: 10.1111/clr.14150.


Objectives: To review the available literature on the medium- and long-term effects of soft tissue augmentation (STA) at implant sites and to explore the effects of the different approaches on clinical-, patient-reported, and health-related parameters.

Materials and methods: A comprehensive electronic and manual search was performed to identify prospective clinical studies that assessed the medium- and long-term (≥36 months) outcomes following STA, including number of sites maintaining peri-implant health and number of sites developing peri-implant disease, incidence of complications, stability of the clinical, volumetric, and radiographic parameters, and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).

Results: Fifteen studies were included in the qualitative analysis. STA was performed with either a bilaminar- or an apically positioned flap (APF) approach, in combination with autogenous grafts (free gingival graft [FGG] and connective tissue graft [CTG]) or substitutes (acellular dermal matrix [ADM] and xenogeneic cross-linked collagen matrix [CCM]). An overall high survival rate was observed. Most of the augmented implant sites maintained peri-implant health in the medium and long term, with the incidence of peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis ranging from 0% to 50% and from 0% to 7.14%, respectively. The position of the soft tissue margin following APF + FGG and bilaminar approaches involving CTG or CCM was found to be stable over time. No substantial changes were reported for plaque score/index, bleeding on probing/bleeding index, and probing depth between early time points and following visits. CTG-based STA procedures resulted in a stable or increased dimension of keratinized mucosa width (KMW) and mucosal thickness (MT)/volumetric outcomes over time, when compared with early follow-ups. Most of the included studies described stable marginal bone levels at the grafted implant sites over time. No substantial changes for patient-reported outcomes and professionally assessed esthetic results were reported at different time points.

Conclusions: Implants that received STA showed overall high survival rate and relatively low incidence of peri-implantitis in the medium and long term. Augmented sites seem to maintain the level of soft tissue margin and marginal bone over time, while non-augmented implants may exhibit apical shift of the soft tissue margin. The overall favorable early outcomes obtained with STA are maintained in the medium and long term, with an increase in KMW and MT that may be expected over time at CTG-augmented sites.

Keywords: connective tissue graft; dental implants; evidence-based dentistry; soft tissue augmentation; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acellular Dermis*
  • Dental Implants* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Oral Surgical Procedures*
  • Peri-Implantitis*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Dental Implants