Aim: The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine clinical benefits of ridge preservation in terms of surgical invasiveness of implant placement compared to natural healing in the maxilla. Materials & Methods: This study included 178 patients with 206 implants placed at ridge-preserved sites and 493 patients with 656 implants placed at naturally healed sites in maxillary anterior and posterior regions. Patient- and implant-related data were collected from electronic dental records including additional augmentation procedures performed before or during implant placement and surgical complications. Cumulative survival rate was assessed using Kaplan–Meier method. The annual peri-implant marginal bone loss between the two groups was compared using the Mann–Whitney U test. Results: The follow-up period was 24.4 ± 18.1 months (mean ± standard deviation) for ridge-preserved sites and 45.7 ± 29.6 months for naturally healed sites. Sinus augmentation was performed at similar frequencies in the two groups, but lateral approach was applied significantly more at naturally healed sites (37.2%) than ridge-preserved sites (8.3%, p ≤.001). There was no intergroup difference in the cumulative survival rate or annual peri-implant marginal bone loss. Conclusion: Ridge preservation can be clinically beneficial for minimizing the invasiveness of implant surgery by simplifying the procedure when sinus augmentation is expected in the maxilla.
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