Biologic width around titanium implants. A histometric analysis of the implanto-gingival junction around unloaded and loaded nonsubmerged implants in the canine mandible

J Periodontol. 1997 Feb;68(2):186-98. doi: 10.1902/jop.1997.68.2.186.


The use of endosseous dental implants as transmucosal devices necessitates the successful integration of three different tissues: bone, connective tissue, and epithelium. So far, studies have predominantly focused on hard tissue integration. Much less is known about soft tissues. This study examined the dimensions of the implantogingival junction in relation to clinically healthy unloaded and loaded nonsubmerged implants. In total, 69 titanium plasma-sprayed (TPS) and sandblasted acid-etched (SLA) implants were placed in an alternating fashion in six foxhounds and allowed to heal for 3 months. Two dogs were sacrificed after the initial healing period. The remaining four dogs had crowns fabricated that were allowed to function for up to 12 months. These animals were sacrificed after 3 and 12 months of loading. Histometric analysis of undecalcified histologic sections included the evaluation of the sulcus depth (SD), the dimensions of the junctional epithelium (JE), and the connective tissue contact (CTC). Mean values in the 3 month unloaded group were 0.49 mm for SD, 1.16 mm for JE, and 1.36 mm for CTC. These dimensions were 0.50 mm for SD, 1.44 mm for JE, and 1.01 mm for CTC for the 3 month loaded group. After 12 months of loading, these values were 0.16 mm for SD, 1.88 mm for JE, and 1.05 mm for CTC. The sum of these measurements was similar for the different time points and similar to the same dimensions around teeth. TPS and SLA surfaces had no influence on the evaluated parameters (P > 0.05). The data suggest that a biologic width exists around unloaded and loaded nonsubmerged one-part titanium implants and that this is a physiologically formed and stable dimension as is found around teeth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Bite Force
  • Connective Tissue / physiology
  • Dental Implantation, Endosseous
  • Dental Implants*
  • Dental Prosthesis, Implant-Supported
  • Dental Stress Analysis
  • Dogs
  • Epithelial Attachment / physiology
  • Gingiva / anatomy & histology
  • Gingiva / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mandible
  • Porosity
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Dental Implants
  • Titanium