There are new techniques and technology that Affinity Dental Care uses to make implant placement easier.
- The socket shield technique is a “newer” technique used during immediate implant placement (remove a hopeless tooth and replace it with an implant right after the extraction) in the anterior region to preserve the integrity of the periodontium and the thin buccal bone that lies beneath. This technique does not remove the whole root of an upper front tooth. It eliminates two-thirds of the root, leaving a small piece of the front part of the root in the socket as a type of shield. Implant placement then takes place behind the protection of the socket shield with the intention of minimal disruption to the buccal bone and associated gum tissues. The final results are much more aesthetic and natural.
- Implant surgical guides can be incredible aids for prosthetically driven implant placement (plan the location of the crown first, then place the implant where the tooth/crown will be). The implant surgical guide can help us to place the implants precisely where we want them to be so that the resulting crowns can be functional and good-looking.
- A new technology called a 3D navigation system can help with implant planning and placement. It is essentially an image-guided and robot-assisted surgical system. The dentist gains a live view of the patient’s 3D anatomy and a digital handpiece to guide drill movements during surgery using the technology. I have tried out a 3D navigation system called X-NAV. The results I get from an oral surgeon colleague using these devices are excellent, though. The feedback I have received from the surgeon about this surgical process is that it gives the confidence of guided surgery and precision in placement location while allowing for the freehanded adjustment feel during the procedure.
- Another advancement is using a diode laser to uncover implants (after a few months of healing) instead of scalpels to reduce bleeding and eliminate the need for suture removal. CO2 lasers have a similar coagulation style and effect as diode lasers. Nd: YAG and Er, Cr: YSGG lasers effectively manage peri-implantitis (remove infection around implants).
- Digital scanning with a 3-D scanner and 3-D printer are the two other new technologies that we can streamline our workflow in implant dentistry. The 3-D scanner can accurately capture the location of the implant, and the 3-D printer can reproduce the implant and the teeth of the mouth so that the dental laboratory technicians can produce the crown for the implant.
- CAD/CAM dental milling machine can mill out the crown after receiving the digital information from the 3-D scanner.
- Newer ceramic implants are developed to replace implants made with titanium. Zirconium dioxide is not metal like titanium and is white. Its use may be suitable in certain circumstances where the highest esthetic is desirable, or metal-free holistic treatment is wanted. The material has been proven to have good osseointegration and soft tissue adhesion. It also demonstrates lower plaque accumulation and less bacterial adhesion than titanium implants.
We always strive to keep our technologies abreast of the time. If you have any questions about your suitability for dental implants to improve your smile and health, feel free to contact us for answers.