Dynamic analyses of a soft tissue-implant interface: Biological responses to immediate versus delayed dental implants

Aellos F, Grauer JA, Harder KG, Dworan JS, Fabbri G, Cuevas PL, Yuan X, Liu B, Brunski JB, Helms JA.

Aim: To qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the formation and maturation of peri-implant soft tissues around ‘immediate’ and ‘delayed’ implants.

Materials and methods: Miniaturized titanium implants were placed in either maxillary first molar (mxM1) fresh extraction sockets or healed mxM1 sites in mice. Peri-implant soft tissues were evaluated at multiple timepoints to assess the molecular mechanisms of attachment and the efficacy of the soft tissue as a barrier. A healthy junctional epithelium (JE) served as positive control.

Results: No differences were observed in the rate of soft-tissue integration of immediate versus delayed implants; however, overall, mucosal integration took at least twice as long as osseointegration in this model. Qualitative assessment of Vimentin expression over the time course of soft-tissue integration indicated an initially disorganized peri-implant connective tissue envelope that gradually matured with time. Quantitative analyses showed significantly less total collagen in peri-implant connective tissues compared to connective tissue around teeth around implants. Quantitative analyses also showed a gradual increase in expression of hemidesmosomal attachment proteins in the peri-implant epithelium (PIE), which was accompanied by a significant inflammatory marker reduction.

Conclusions: Within the timeframe examined, quantitative analyses showed that connective tissue maturation never reached that observed around teeth. Hemidesmosomal attachment protein expression levels were also significantly reduced compared to those in an intact JE, although quantitative analyses indicated that macrophage density in the peri-implant environment was reduced over time, suggesting an improvement in PIE barrier functions. Perhaps most unexpectedly, maturation of the peri-implant soft tissues was a significantly slower process than osseointegration.

Keywords: delayed implant; immediate implant; peri‐implant interface; peri‐implant junctional epithelium; soft‐tissue attachment.

PMID: 38708491