Digital Technology and Dental Implants – Adam NultyNews
Posted by: manpreet.boora 6th October 2017
Implant dentistry as a sector of the UK market is expanding massively. There has been a significant increase in uptake of digital technologies in recent years, helped along by the development of products available.
For example, as patient scanning solutions have improved in accuracy – both with regards to radiographs and intraoral impressions – they have become integrated with implant planning, treatment and restoration. Modern solutions facilitate a smooth and accurate planning process even when a large clinical team is involved, with the aim of enhancing the long-term success of treatment. The associated costs have also reduced in recent years, increasing accessibility for the profession and allowing widespread uptake.
One of the main benefits to the implantologist is its impact on guided surgery. It is now widely accepted that various surgical procedures explored throughout the literature can produce a more predictable outcome when the planning is accompanied by digital technologies and the resulting surgical guides.
Personally, I believe the greatest strength of digital planning in guided surgery is the ability to prosthetically plan the dental implant placement from the crown down, in an accurate and predictable manner. Rather than manually using the prosthetic envelope of a wax mock-up, the digital dentist has the ability to measure distances, plan depths and predict emergence profiles for better planning of the prosthetic components and an enhanced outcome.
Further benefits afforded by digital technologies include reduced surgical time, healing time and potentially also patient discomfort in the right cases, where flapless surgeries can be performed safely and predictably. Studies demonstrate high dental implant survival rates with computer-aided treatment.[i] Digital planning in dental implantology generally makes surgery easier and more consistent, giving the clinician the highest level of accuracy, as discussed by Scheider et al.[ii]
As when sourcing any new equipment, the main challenge faced by digital dentists is in choosing the right brand. The ever-expanding world of digital dentistry means there are several companies investing heavily in the field, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I think it ultimately depends on what the clinician’s needs are as to which are the most appropriate.
I would strongly advise anyone considering a new purchase to try out various options and see what works best for them in their own circumstances. I would also suggest starting out with software that facilitates guided surgery, for which a 3D CBCT training course would be necessary if you have little previous experience (there are several good courses available across the country), followed by software-specific training. This will help to prevent errors and help the team fully maximise on the benefits available.
For more information about the ADI, or to join, please visit www.adi.org.uk
The views expressed in this article are that of the author, and not necessarily the view of the ADI
Adam qualified from The University of Leeds in 2006 and spent several years in general practice before opening the Dentist On THE ROCK clinic in Bury. His postgraduate qualifications include an MSc in Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry from the University of Manchester, and he is an experienced teacher and lecturer on the topic of dental implant restorations, digital dentistry and guided surgery. Adam is currently researching guided implant surgery with a PhD at Leeds University.
[i] Hultin M, Svensson KG, Trulsson M, Clinical advantages of computer-guided implant placement: a systematic review, Clin Oral Impl Res 2012:23 (Suppl 6) 124:135
[ii] Scheider D, Sancho M, Schober F, Jung RE, Muhlemann S, CHF, Efficiency of conventional and computer-assisted, template based implant planning and placement – a randomised controlled clinical trial – Clin. Oral Impl. Res, 2016
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