Digital technology: revolutionising implant procedures – Kate Scheer W&H (UK) LtdNews
Posted by: The Probe 26th October 2018
It’s no overstatement to say that dentistry has advanced significantly since the first implant treatments performed in the 50s and 60s. Implantology in the UK has only fairly recently become a more widely accepted treatment option by patients, and research into the subject has continued to evolve how professionals think about the procedure and which type of implants they choose.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between modern day implantology and the procedures of old is the technology used throughout the various stages of implant treatment. From start to finish, digital technology has changed the experience for professionals and patients alike, streamlining how it’s performed and ensuring that it has become a popular treatment option for edentulous patients.
A digital diagnosis
Creating an accurate impression of the patient’s oral cavity is an important first step in implantology procedures. Whilst traditional impression materials still work, patients often find them unpleasant, and the nature of the procedure often means that distortion and other inaccuracies occur in the final mould. Furthermore, the process is messy and time consuming – two disadvantages that digital procedures eliminate.
Furthermore, the accuracy of digital intra-oral scanners far outweighs those of impressions made through traditional methods.[i]This is because even if the first scan has mistakes or missing data another can be taken instantly, without having to wait for any materials to set. This helps the patient feel more comfortable and even hastens the creation of the restoration, as laboratories can be sent a digital file of the impression instantly instead of waiting for a physical mould to arrive via post.
Modern day scanners also include a number of helpful visual aids which assist patient communication of proposed treatments and the benefits, improving treatment acceptance and putting the patient’s mind at ease as the surgery can be explained in an in-depth and easy to understand way.
Once these scans have been taken they can also play a crucial part in the diagnostic wax-up. By combining the images with the patient’s smile, professionals can see how the final result may look and share this with the patient, allowing them to alter any details such as tooth size until they are happy with the proposed outcome. This wax-up can even be 3D printed and tried in the patient’s mouth to see if the proposed treatment lives up to their expectations.
Due to the invasive nature of implant surgery, it pays for professionals to have a thorough treatment plan in place in order to achieve the best results. Digital planning software has helped professionals approach this stage of treatment from a more meticulous angle. Digital systems give dentists the opportunity to overlay virtual implants over cross-sectional images of the patient’s oral cavity, meaning they can verify their treatment planning visually and adjust if necessary.
Modern planning software also enables professionals to assess many factors that can impact the implant surgery including bone volume, bone density and the available restorative space. It can even be used to help professionals identify any significant areas to avoid drilling during implant placement such as nerves, proximal teeth and sinuses – making the procedure safer for the patient.
This technology can be especially useful for more complex cases that may require more than one implant. The software can be used to parallel digital scans with proposed implant locations separately or together, ensuring that each implant will be placed accurately and complimentarily for the best result.
Some pieces of modern digital technology have become an invaluable helping hand for professionals during implant surgery. Computer-guided surgery, in particular, has been a well-explored choice for professionals, and this is because it could offer a number of interesting benefits.
Computer-guided surgery uses digital treatment plans to create a template that ensures professionals know the perfect location, depth and angulation for the implant before surgery. Using these surgical templates has been found to reduce the chance of positioning errors when the implants are being placed,[ii]and might even help to reduce pain during the healing phase.[iii]
Other digital technologies have been created to aid professionals in implant surgery by helping them to achieve optimum implant stability. Implant stability has been identified as a key part of effective osseointegration, making it vital for successful implant treatment.[iv]
The Implantmed surgical unit from W&H is a particularly innovative piece of technology that has been created to streamline the implant procedure. Featuring an automatic thread cutter function and automatic torque control, Implantmed also has an attachable Osstell ISQ module that measures the stability of implants during placement in a fast, accurate, non-invasive and simple way based on qualifiable data, without jeopardising osseointegration or the healing process. This helps to ensure that the best possible primary stability is achieved.
Embrace the revolution
Although traditional methods are still effective in some cases, it makes sense to look toward the future. Digital technology continually evolves, but by implementing these advanced systems into their practices, it follows that dentists can provide a quicker, more accurate implant service to patients.
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[i]Yuzbasioglu, E., Kurt, H., Turunc, R., Bilir, H. Comparison of Digital and Conventional Impression Techniques: Evaluation of Patients’ Perception, Treatment Comfort, Effectiveness and Clinical Outcomes. BMC Oral Health. 2014; 14: 10.
[ii]Arisan, V., Karabuda, C., Mumcu, E., Özdemir, T. Implant Positioning Errors in Freehand and Computer-aided Placement Methods: A Single-blind Clinical Comparative Study. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2013; 28(1): 190-204.
[iii]Nkenke, E., Eitner, S., Radespiel-Tröger, M., Vairaktaris, E., Neukam, F., Fenner, M. Patient-centred Outcomes Comparing Transmucosal Implant Placement with an Open Approach in the Maxilla: a Prospective, Non-randomized Pilot Study. Clin Oral Implants Res. 2007; 18: 809–814.
[iv]Javed, F., Ahmed, H., Crespi, R., Romanos, G. Role of Primary Stability for Successful Osseointegration of Dental Implants: Factors of Influence and Evaluation. Interv Med Appl Sci. 2013; 5(4): 162–167.
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