No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

What Is Computer-Guided Dental Implant Surgery?

by Jeremiah Barnett

Some uncomplicated (routine )individual dental implants can be placed almost exclusively by hand, using an X-ray as a guide. This applies when an experienced surgeon places a single implant in a patient who has a high standard of dental health, with no mitigating circumstances (other relevant health conditions)—meaning that the process is as uncomplicated as it can be. However, not all dental implant surgeries are so straightforward. When there's an added layer of complexity to the surgery, a dentist may opt to perform computer-guided dental implant surgery. 

Individual Circumstances

Complexity doesn't mean danger, nor does it mean that there's a significant risk of implant failure. It simply means that a patient's individual circumstances warrant a specialized approach. This could cover aspects of the procedure such as the density of bone where the implant will be placed, the specific locations of nerves and arteries in surrounding oral structures, existing and related health conditions, or any developmental abnormalities that may have affected the jaw. 

Permanent Tooth Replacement

These factors don't exclude you from receiving a dental implant and enjoying all the benefits of this permanent tooth replacement, but they mean that the precision of a computer guide can be highly beneficial.

Cone Beam Scan

Computer-guided dental implant surgery generally starts with a 3D computerized tomography cone beam scan. To create the 3D effect, the scanner rotates around the target area (your head). The resulting diagnostic scan is highly-detailed, providing considerably more usable data than a traditional X-ray. The cone beam scan is used to create a customized surgical guide for your implant surgery, which is then used to create a computer simulation of your implant surgery—essentially a simulated preview of the process.

Computer Modeling

This accurate and predictable computer modeling can take your specific circumstances into account, formulating a surgical guide that minimizes healing time while maximizing the successful integration between your implant and your jaw—creating a strong, unbreakable connection between the two. This successful integration is paramount for the implant to be able to function as an artificial tooth root. The computer modeling can also be used to create a customized drilling bit for use in your specific surgery. This allows for your dentist to create an insertion point of the exact width and depth needed to place your implant. 

To give you an idea of the precision involved, it should be pointed out that the process was originally developed for neurosurgery, and has since been adapted for dental implant surgery. As such, the precision of computer-guided dental implant surgery eliminates any margin of error.

Contact a company like Hurley Nicholas J DDS PA to learn more.