Getting Dental Implants? Understanding The Flapless Surgical Technique

More and more patients are opting for dental implants since these restorative options have high success rates and quality aesthetics. If you are interested in getting fitted with an implant, you and your dentist may be discussing your treatment options. There isn't one-size-fits surgery for implant placement. Some people may need bone grafts beforehand, while other patients may be candidates for immediate implant loading. While a lot of implants are placed with the flap surgical technique, dentists can also use a flapless surgical technique. Read on to learn more about the flapless surgical technique and its benefits.

What Is a Flapless Surgical Technique?

When implant posts were placed, dentists used to just use a scalpel to cut into the gingiva and access the jawbone. The cuts that were created in the gum tissue created a "flap." With a flapless surgery, your dentist will use a tissue punch, similar to the tools you'd see for a biopsy, to access the jawbone.

What Are the Benefits of This Technique?

The flapless technique is a simple and efficient way to access the implant site and sutures aren't required, so the overall surgery time may be shorter.

The main advantage of this technique is that there is minimal post-operative swelling. Since more gingival tissue is incised during the flap technique, more histamine is released which can result in postoperative swelling and pain.

Lastly, one study found that the flapless technique was more advantageous at preserving crestal bone (bone around the implant) and gum tissue. This technique can also improve the success rates of the dental implant.

Is This Technique Right for Your Surgery?

While every situation is different, patients often need to meet three general conditions to qualify for flapless surgery:

  1. You must have a jaw ridge wide enough for tissue punch access
  2. You need to already have healthy bone tissue without the need for grafting
  3. You need to have healthy gum tissue

To see if you're a good candidate for this technique, your dentist may go over your health history and use computed tomography (CT) imaging to evaluate your bone structure. If you aren't a good candidate for a flapless surgical technique, that doesn't mean that your implant surgery won't be a success. There are advantages to flap techniques as well. For instance, if you have unhealthy gum tissue, a flap technique is beneficial since the dentist can reposition the flap to improve healing and coverage around the implant base.

Reach out to your dentist for more information on the techniques and overall process of a dental implant procedure.