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J Prosthet Dent. 2000 Apr;83(4):402-11.

Soft tissue correction of a single-tooth pontic space: a comparative quantitative volume assessment.

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  • 1Center for Dental Medicine, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.



Various augmentation procedures are recommended for the correction of localized alveolar ridge defects. However, no study has quantitatively evaluated the results of these procedures to date.


This study compared 2 soft tissue augmentation surgeries commonly used to alter contours of single-tooth pontic space by quantifying 3-dimensional volume changes with the optical projection Moiré method at 1 and 3.5 months after surgery.


Twenty-four patients required surgery. Each patient had a localized alveolar ridge defect, corresponding to a mesial-distal width of 1 single tooth. The defect of 12 patients was corrected with a subepithelial connective tissue graft; the remaining 12 patients were treated by receiving a free full-thickness gingival graft, which included epithelium and connective tissue with fatty tissue. Six unoperated defects of 6 patients formed the control group. For each defect, an impression was made before treatment, at 1 and 3.5 months after surgery to measure the volume changes on the dental casts with a validated projection Moiré system. Volume change was assessed relative to the preoperative dimension at the buccal and crestal aspects of the single-tooth pontic space.


At 3.5 months postsurgery, mean volumetric gain for the connective tissue group with 159 mm(3) (SD +/- 80) was significantly greater (P =.027) than for free full-thickness gingival graft group with 104 mm(3) (SD +/- 31).


The applied projection Moiré method proved its applicability in assessing 3-dimensional volume changes of pontic spaces with a single-tooth width. Volumetric assessment after 1 and 3.5 months revealed significantly greater volume gain with the subepithelial connective tissue graft in comparison to the free full-thickness gingival graft.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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