Benefits of Digital Guides for Dental Implant Surgery

May 13, 2016, by Dr. Becky Coats
Dental implants are an exciting advance in dental technology. What can be better than actually being able to get a new replacement tooth that looks and functions just like your natural teeth? It’s like magic.

But they keep getting more magical as technology continues to improve. And one of the recent innovations that we like to let patients know about is the digital guides that we can use for dental implants.

What Is a Surgical Guide?

A surgical guide is a template that takes the information from our cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) and our iTero imaging system and incorporates them into a plastic and metal brace that guides dental implants into place.

Surgical guides are designed digitally and they can be manufactured in our office or in a lab. Which we choose for your case depends on the demands of the situation.

Benefit #1: Guaranteed Accuracy

The most important benefit of a surgical guide is guaranteed accuracy. Human surgeons have hands that aren’t always as precise as we would like them to be. And dental implants benefit from maximum precision. The space we’re working with is strictly defined, and if the implant isn’t placed precisely, it can cause problems.

The problem might just be difficulty placing a dental crown on the implant, or it might be failure of the implant, or it could even be damage to a neighboring tooth or a nerve. So we put a high value on precision to ensure the best quality results. It’s the next best thing to having a dental implant robot. (Actually, it’s better–they still haven’t worked the bugs out of those things, yet!)

Benefit #2: Incorporating All Information

Accuracy is great, but it wouldn’t be good if we were accurately following a surgical plan that didn’t take some variables into account, like the position of your sinuses and your nerves.

But because a surgical guide is manufactured taking into account all the data we have. The CBCT gives us a three-dimensional image of your bone structure, including the location of spaces, nerves, and neighboring tooth roots, and the iTero does the same for the visible interior of your mouth. Incorporating these two sets of data into the design of the surgical guide ensures that we’re placing the dental implant exactly where it should be.

Benefit #3: A Quick and Minimally Invasive Procedure

The dental implant procedure can actually be very simple. The dental implant is placed in your bone. Repeat if necessary. That’s all. What can make it take a long time is if we are having to plan the procedure as we go, making judgments about what needs to be done while we’re performing the surgery. A digital surgical guide eliminates all that–we’re just putting the implant in place.

And because we know exactly where the implant is going, that’s the only place we have to work. We only make a small hole, just enough to allow the implant to enter–most people don’t even need sutures!

Benefit #4: Preplanned Restorations

When we know exactly where the implants are going, we can design restorations to go over them right away. That means you can leave our office with cosmetic restorations on top of your dental implants on the same day, if all goes well. And they’re not hastily-made temporaries, they’re quality restorations that can serve you for the entire healing period.

Want to Learn How You Can Benefit?

If you are interested in learning more about this precise approach to dental implants in the Dallas area, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with a Grapevine implant dentist at Grapevine Dental Care today.