Background: The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of early exposure of the cover screw on crestal bone loss around implants. Methods: The study population consisted of 19 patients who were treated with dental implants placed using a two-stage surgical protocol and had early exposed and non-exposed implants (20 early exposed and 20 non-exposed implants). The crestal bone loss at exposed and non-exposed implants in each patient was evaluated with a periapical radiograph taken at the first surgery and at suprastructure insertion using a computerized image-analysis system. The bone loss was compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results: The mean crestal bone loss at exposed implants was 0.40 ± 0.53 mm, and it was 0.18 ± 0.26 mm at non-exposed implants. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test revealed a statistically significant difference in crestal bone loss between exposed and non-exposed implants in the same patient (P = 0.02). Conclusions: The early exposure of the cover screw that results in breakdown of the mucosal seal seems to accelerate early peri-implant crestal bone loss. Periodic follow-up after the first surgery may be critical for minimizing the influence of early exposure.
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