Purpose: To systematically review the current literature on the influence of abutment material (metal vs ceramic) and soft tissue thickness on peri-implant soft tissue discoloration in partially edentulous patients restored with implant-supported single crowns. Methods: An electronic MEDLINE search was performed to identify randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) up to and including March 2017. The search was complemented by a manual search of related bibliographies. Selection of studies was made independently by two reviewers based on the inclusion criteria. Spectrophotometric data (ΔE values) and soft tissue thickness values were extracted, and, whenever applicable, a meta-analysis using a random-effects approach was performed. Results: The search resulted in 208 titles and 30 abstracts. Full-text analysis was performed for 13 articles, resulting in 6 included RCTs. Meta-analysis of a total of 266 abutments revealed significantly lower ΔE values for ceramic abutments when compared to the overall metal abutments (z test value = 1.99, P =.05), with a mean difference of 1.41 (95% CI 0.02, 2.80). Nonsignificant differences were found between titanium and zirconia (z test value = 1.59, P =.11). Limited information on the correlation between soft tissue thickness and ΔE values was found. Hence, it was not possible to perform a meta-analysis of this question. Conclusion: The color outcome of the peri-implant soft tissue might be influenced by the abutment material. Ceramic abutments appear to provide an improved color matching between peri-implant soft tissues and soft tissues around natural teeth when compared to metallic abutments. These findings support the preference for all-ceramic or "white" abutments in esthetically demanding cases.
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