Surgical therapies for the treatment of gingival recession. A systematic review

Thomas W Oates, Melanie Robinson, John C Gunsolley
Annals of Periodontology 2003, 8 (1): 303-20

BACKGROUND: A variety of soft tissue augmentation procedures directed at root coverage have been documented in the literature utilizing autogenous or allogenic soft tissue grafting or guided tissue regeneration (GTR).

RATIONALE: The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the literature regarding the efficacies of various surgical gingival augmentation procedures relative to clinical and patient-oriented outcomes.

FOCUSED QUESTION: What is the effect of surgical therapy for root coverage in patients with gingival recession compared with other treatment modalities or baseline values?

SEARCH PROTOCOL: PubMed and the Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register were searched to identify human studies in English investigating the therapeutic use of a soft tissue surgical procedure to treat gingival recession. Searches were performed for articles published by April 2002.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Initial screening of identified abstracts accepted all studies evaluating surgical intervention of gingival recession. Independent review by 2 reviewers evaluated full-text reports regarding study characteristics. Only those studies determined to be randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were included in the final analysis. DATA ANALYSIS AND COLLECTION: Outcome measures included changes in root coverage, clinical attachment levels (CAL), probing depth (PD), and width of keratinized tissue (KT). The only data suitable for meta-analysis were comparisons of the efficacy of connective tissue grafts with GTR.

MAIN RESULTS: 1. Thirty-two articles (total study population: 687) met the criteria for RCTs: 11 (population: 286) related to various autogenous soft tissue augmentation procedures; 18 (population: 360) to GTR; and 3 (population: 41) to allogenic soft tissue augmentation. 2. Meta-analysis identified greater gains in both root coverage and keratinized tissue width for connective tissue graft procedures compared to GTR. 3. No other data were compatible with meta-analysis.

REVIEWERS' CONCLUSIONS: 1. Soft tissue augmentation procedures are effective means of obtaining root coverage. 2. Connective grafting techniques appear to have an advantage over GTR. 3. There is a need for further efficacy studies and for investigation of these procedures relative to patient-oriented outcomes such as esthetics, root sensitivity, and postoperative morbidities.

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