Clinical and histologic evaluation of heterotopic mucosa transpositioning at teeth and dental implants

Clin Oral Implants Res. 2023 Sep 30. doi: 10.1111/clr.14184. Online ahead of print.


Aim: To investigate the healing after heterotopic mucosa transpositioning at dental implants and teeth.

Materials and methods: One hemimandible per dog (n = 4) was allocated to receive 3 implants (test), whereby 3 premolars on the contralateral side served as controls. After osseointegration, a Z-plasty was performed on the buccal aspect of the test and control sites to heterotopically move the zone of keratinized tissue (KT) into a region with non-keratinized tissue (nKT) and vice versa. Clinical measurements were performed before (T0) and at 12 weeks following heterotopic transposition (T1). Thereafter, specimens were processed for histological analysis.

Results: Clinical measurements revealed that at T1, a band of KT was reestablished at teeth (mean: 2.944 ± 1.866 mm), whereas at implants, the transpositioned nKT resulted in a mucosa without any signs of keratinization (mean: 0 mm; p < .0001). At implant sites, the probing attachment level loss was more pronounced compared to tooth sites (-1.667 ± 1.195 mm and -1.028 ± 0.878 mm, respectively; p = .0076). Histologically, the transpositioned nKT, was accompanied by the formation of KT at the tooth but not at implant sites. The supracrestal soft tissues were statistically significantly higher at tooth compared to implant sites (2.978 ± 0.483 mm and 2.497 ± 0.455 mm, p = .0083). The transpositioned KT remained mostly unaltered in its morphological characteristics.

Conclusions: The findings of this study indicate that: (a) transpositioned KT may retain its morphological characteristics; and (b) transpositioned nKM was accompanied by the formation of KT at the tooth but not at implant sites.

Keywords: connective tissue; dental implants; gingiva; keratinized tissue; peri-implant mucosa; soft tissue healing; teeth; tissue characteristics.