Computer Guided Implant Dentistry
What is computer guided implant placement?
Computer-guided implant placement uses the latest technology to "virtually" place the implants into the patient's scanned jaw using computer graphics. This model is then transferred to a surgical guide that is actually used on the patient during the implant placement visit.
This process ensures the implants are placed at the precise angle and depth to most efficiently use the available bone. This results in the strongest, most stable implant integration possible. It also allows us to choose areas for placement ahead of time which give the best aesthetic results.
The first step is to have a scan of the patient's jaws performed (Fig. 1). The scan is called a cone-beam scan or i-CAT scan. This scan offers many advantages over the conventional CT scan...
- One 20 second scan provides 3-D data for improved patient diagnosis.
- The patient is seated and in an open environment.
- Significantly less radiation than a medical CT scan.
- Lower cost to the patient than a medical CT scan.
- No hospital appointment for patient.
The scan creates a 3-D image with four different views (cross sectional, axial, panoramic, 3D Model) of the patient's bone structure. These four different views allow us to evaluate all aspects of the patient's jaw. All of these views are exact one-to-one dimensional representations of the actual bone. (Fig. 2)
The next step is to actually place the implants into the bone represented in the scan. (Fig. 3 - Fig. 7) With all the views available and exact replicas of the implants, we can safely and accurately place the implants in the most ideal position. The implants themselves are placed level with the bone crest.
After placement of the three implants, their positions and alignment can be evaluated by rotating the 3-D model. Also, the placement can be viewed using the transparent mode (Fig. 8) to be sure the implants are not interfering with each other or any vital structures (nerves, sinuses, etc.)
Once the virtual implant placement has been completed a surgical guide is fabricated from the digital information. This guide is then used on the patient during the actual implant placement to guide the dentist while placing the implants in the exact location as designed. (Fig. 9) The placement is accurate, safe and non-invasive resulting in ideal placement of the implants giving the strongest result with the least amount of trauma to the area. This means minimal post-operative pain and ideal restoration of the implants. After the implants sites are healed and the implants are stabilized in the bone, they are ready for the final restorations.
In Fig. 10 you can see two implants placed on each side of the lower jaw. These implants have fixed (cemented) porcelain crowns on them which provide the patient with very strong and completely natural feeling replacement teeth.