Future of Dental Implants


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As technology advances, so too do the tools available to dentists. Computer-aided dentistry is becoming an extremely useful asset in the case of dental implants. Dental implants require a really, mind-bogglingly high level of accuracy and, even with the most skilled, experienced dentist, this is not always possible to achieve. The standard imaging tools for dental implants were, and often still are, X-rays and CAT scans, however, these techniques make it difficult to precisely locate an exact area for implantation and are not particularly accurate at measuring bone density. Nowadays the use of new techniques in scanning and drill guiding are making the procedure more and more successful year-on-year. The advances in, cone beam scanning and 3D imaging make locating the exact spot for your implant almost foolproof and the location can be concretely decided upon well before your surgery.

Technology has hundreds of applications in dentistry, this section aims to give you an idea of the key technologies in use today in dental implant procedures. Ask you dentist for more information about the techniques they employ and the tools they have available in their clinic.

Surgical Drill Guides

Drill guides are exactly what they sound like. They are carefully measured templates which fit into your mouth and allow your dentist to accurately drill into an exact section of your jaw. This might not sound impressive but the reason they are so clever is that they are created using precise measurements which can be obtained from the 3D images techniques such as cone beam scanning can produce. This means that they are perfectly and minutely tailored to the shape of your mouth , teeth and bones. This technique substantially reduces the possibility of human error and provides a really accurately placed implant.

There are various forms of surgical guides available, marketed by different companies. Most of these operate in the same way but differ in how the guide is fixed into your mouth. A few companies with products such as these include: Surgiguide, Nobelguide and SICAT.

Cone Beam Scanning

One of the tools which allow these companies to create such precise surgical guides is cone beam scanning. Instead of a conventional CAT scan or X-ray, cone scanners emit a cone-shaped beam of radiation. This scanner's radiation then revolves around your entire body, capturing with incredible precision an algorithm mapping your body in three dimensons. This algorithm is then interpreted by 3D imaging software into an extremely accurate image of your body in three dimensions.

Aside from its phenomenal  accuracy, cone beam scanning has another major advantage. This advantage is that it can be performed while you are sitting up. When you lie down the shape of your mouth is a little different as the soft tissues of your mouth shift and move depending on your position. That cone beam scanning can be performed on an upright patient means your dentist can be positive that the surgical drill will be completely accurate.

3D Imaging

Another real advance in recent decades has been the steady improvement in computer technology. Now we are able to create programmes which can read the algorithms produced by cone beam scanning and use this information to create a 3D model of your mouth.

Using programmes such as SIMPLANT dentists can explore your mouth and jaw completely. The computerised model can me manipulated and rotated in every way. It is even possible to insert virtual implants in order to check the suitability of the location first. This technology almost completely eliminates any chance of a trial and error approach to dental implants.

Another brilliant feature of this technology is that your dentist can actually show you, on screen, exactly what they are going to do during the procedure. They can explain and make you thoroughly confident about the treatment.

Of course, not all dentists have access to these new technologies as they can be expensive and, in some cases, difficult to use. Although, they are immeasurably useful, they are not a necessity. A good, practised dentist will be able to perform a dental implant without any of this equipment.


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Guide to Dental Implants in London & the UK