Editor’s intro: Dr. Cary A. Shapoff illustrates several cases using Laser-Lok microchannel technology to preserve crestal bone and soft tissue esthetics.
Dr. Cary A. Shapoff shares patient cases involving a surface treatment shown to attract a true, physical connective tissue attachment
Numerous published animal and human dental implant studies report crestal bone loss from the time of placement of the healing abutment to various time periods after restoration. The bone loss can result in loss of interproximal papilla and recession of crown margins. These case examples demonstrate the long-term results that can be obtained utilizing a variety of implant and abutment styles and sizes with the Laser-Lok® (BioHorizons®) microchannel collar design to preserve crestal bone and soft tissue esthetics. Case 1 involved extraction, socket grafting, 6-month delayed implant placement, and final restoration in 6 months. This case was the first reported use of laser-microchannel technology (Laser-Lok) and justified the continued use and documentation of numerous other case examples in a private practice setting.
First reported use of a Laser-Lok implant
A 34-year-old female presented with external resorption at the level of the cementoenamel junction (CEJ) of tooth No. 9. Various treatment options were presented, and the patient elected extraction and dental implant placement. After atraumatic extraction, the socket anatomy did not allow for immediate placement with acceptable initial stability. The socket was grafted with allograft calcified bone and allowed to heal for 6 months. At that time, a dental implant with a 1 mm Laser-Lok microchannel collar design was placed. A subepithelial connective tissue graft was also utilized on the adjacent tooth No. 10 for root coverage. Six months after placement, second-stage surgery was performed, and the tooth was restored with a customized abutment and PFM crown. Note the maintenance of excellent crestal bone levels on the Laser-Lok microchannel collar (within 0.5 mm of the implant/abutment interface) at 19 years post-restoration. The soft tissue margins have remained stable and exhibit excellent periodontal health.
A 45-year old female presented with non-restorable caries under existing crown on tooth No. 7. Treatment decision: Single tooth implant — immediate extraction, immediate placement with provisional loading utilizing BioHorizons Plus (platform-switched) implant (4.6 x 12 mm with 3.5 mm platform).
Two adjacent BioHorizons Laser-Lok dental implants (4.6 mm x 12 mm)
A 52-year-old female patient presented with maxillary central incisors that were deemed non-restorable and replacements with dental implant restorations selected after discussing restorative options.
Clinical use of laser-microtextured CAD-CAM abutments
Laser-Lok microchannels are a proprietary dental implant surface treatment developed from over 25 years of research, initiated to create the optimal implant surface. Through this research, the unique Laser-Lok surface has been shown to elicit a biologic response that includes the inhibition of epithelial downgrowth and the attachment of connective tissue.2-10 This physical attachment produces a biologic seal around the implant that protects and maintains crestal bone health. The Laser-Lok phenomenon has been shown in post-market studies to be more effective than other implant designs in reducing bone loss.11,12,13,14,27
Laser-Lok microchannels are a series of cell-sized circumferential channels that are precisely created using proprietary laser ablation technology. This technology produces extremely consistent microchannels that are optimally sized to attach and organize both osteoblasts and fibroblasts.15-25 The Laser-Lok microstructure also includes a repeating nanostructure that maximizes surface area and enables cell pseudopodia and collagen microfibrils to interdigitate with the Laser- Lok surface.
Virtually all dental implant surfaces on the market are grit-blasted and/or acid-etched. These manufacturing methods create random surfaces that vary from point to point on the implant and alter cell reaction depending on where each cell comes in contact with the surface.10 While random surfaces have shown higher osseointegration than machined surfaces,11,26 only the Laser-Lok surface has been shown using light microscopy, polarized light microscopy, non-human and human histologic specimens, and scanning electron microscopy to also be effective for inhibiting epithelial downgrowth and formation of connective tissue attachment.2-10
The Laser-Lok surface has been shown in several studies to offer a clinical advantage over other implant designs. In a prospective, controlled multi-center study, Laser-Lok implants, when placed alongside identical implants with a traditional surface, were shown at 37 months post-op to reduce bone loss by 70% (or 1.35 mm).11 In a retrospective, private practice study, Laser-Lok implants placed in a variety of site conditions and followed up to 3 years minimized bone loss to 0.46 mm.12 In a prospective, University-based overdenture study, Laser-Lok implants reduced bone loss by 63% versus NobelReplace™ Select.13
The establishment of a physical, connective tissue attachment to the Laser-Lok surface has generated an entirely new area of research and development: Laser-Lok applied to abutments. This provides an opportunity to use Laser-Lok abutments to create a biologic seal and Laser-Lok implants to establish superior osseointegration15 — a solution that offers the best of both worlds. Alternatively, Laser-Lok abutments can support peri-implant health around implants without Laser-Lok. Multiple pre-clinical and clinical studies support both concepts.5-9 Laser-Lok abutments can inhibit epithelial downgrowth — physically attach connective tissue to protect and maintain crestal bone. Most recently, the combination of Laser-Lok abutments, implants, and platform switching was shown to regenerate crestal bone surrounding the implant.5 Cases 4 and 5 demonstrate the use of the Ti-base laser-microtextured abutments with the titanium base and the custom zirconia core abutment. These cases have maintained exceptional crestal bone and excellent soft tissue contours during the 5-year follow-up period.
Restorations for cases 1 and 4 by Jeffrey A. Babushkin, DDS (Trumbull, Connecticut). Restorations for cases 2 and 5 by David J. Wohl DDS, (Fairfield, Connecticut). Restorations for case 3 by Jeffery D. O’Connell, DMD (Fairfield, Connecticut).
Before his microchannel technology experiences, Dr. Cary Shapoff wrote about treating compromised sites with narrow implants. Read his article here.