Traditionally, uncovery of dental implants utilizes a scalpel blade or tissue punch to incise through the soft tissue, which exposes the cover screw of the implant. Unfortunately, this traditional technique can cause post-operative discomfort and bleeding.

One alternative to using a scalpel for uncovery includes electrosurgery, which decreases post-operative discomfort and bleeding by cauterizing tissue. However, it can potentially elevate the temperature around the implant, resulting in bone loss.

A laser is another option for uncovery and is used for procedures such as soft-tissue crown lengthening, troughing, gingivectomy, and esthetic recontouring. The laser is ideal for implant uncovery and tissue modification around implants because there is little to no bleeding and reduces post-op pain.

This step-by-step visual essay shows how to use a laser for implant uncovery.

Frontal view of the patient. Teeth #7 and #11 were prepared for crowns and implants were placed in #8 and #10.
Occlusal view of the patient. Implant on #8 was already uncovered and a healing abutment was in place.
A surgical guide marks the location of the implant so the soft tissue on top of it can be removed.
A Waterlase laser with a MZ6 tip is used.
The tip of the laser precisely removes only the necessary soft tissue above the implant to expose the cover screw/healing abutment.
The result after soft tissue is removed.
A view of the area after the healing abutment is removed.
Impression copings are placed immediately following the uncovery to make the provisional impression.
Occlusal post-operative view after seven days.
Seating the provisional implant-supported restoration.
Provisional restoration with composite-filled access screw.

This is a simple, step-by-step technique using the laser for implant uncover. An advantage to using a laser is that the impression can be made immediately after the uncovery and post-operative discomfort and bleeding are minimized.

Ricardo Mitrani, D.D.S., M.S.D., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.