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INTRODUCTION: Horizontal ridge defects are a common consequence of tooth loss. They present an esthetic problem, especially if the
edentulous site is in the maxillary esthetic zone and indicated for implant placement.
A novel system using ultrasonic waves to activate pins and meshes made of completely resorbable poly-D-L-lactic acid has been recently
introduced. It is commonly used in the augmentation of alveolar ridge defects, but has not been tried for guided soft tissue augmentation.
OBJECTIVES: clinical evaluation of the efficacy of ultrasonic activated poly-D-L-lactic acid pins and meshes for guided soft tissue
augmentation of horizontal defects present around dental implants.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: study comprised of eight patients having localized horizontal soft tissue defects around dental implants.
‘Guided soft tissue augmentation’ technique was applied to manage these defects using ultrasonic activated poly-D-L-lactic acid pins and
meshes. Patients recorded visual analogue scores for the first two weeks post-operatively. The augmented defects were evaluated for soft tissue
thickness and pink esthetic score at one and three months post-operatively.
RESULTS: there was a statistically significant increase in soft tissue thickness and fill in all treated defects together with an improvement of
the pink esthetic score when compared to the baseline values. Patients had a mean visual analogue score of (0.0 ± 0.0) as of the fifth postoperative
CONCLUSIONS: augmentation of horizontal soft tissue defects using ultrasonic activated poly-D-L-lactic acid pins and meshes is a less
invasive and effective clinical procedure to increase soft tissue thickness around dental implants together with the reconstruction of gingival
contours to match those of adjacent natural teeth.
KEYWORDS: dental implants, esthetics, horizontal ridge defects, SonicWeld®, soft tissue