Dental Implant Planning: CT Scans, Surgical Guides, and more!
Many patients have recently consulted with us regarding replacing one or several missing teeth with dental implants. Being the gold standard of tooth replacement, it makes perfect sense since they are a permanent, non-removable, comfortable, and cosmetically beautiful solution! Once you’ve decided on moving forward with dental implants, whats next?
Dental implants, surgically placed into the jaw bone, requires a minimum bone volume height and width present for implants to be successful. Too little bone and the implants won’t fit. Bone width can be ‘guestimated’ by visually inspecting the area in the mouth. Although this is a quick and inexpensive method to determine, it is also the least accurate. It also does not give bone height information. Some type of further imaging is always recommended. Radiographic imaging include intraoral xrays, panoramic xrays, and CT Scans/CBCT. Intraoral xrays and panoramix xrays give very useful information about bone height volume, since the location of nerves and sinuses are clearly visible. These two types of xrays, however, do not give bone width information! By far the most useful type of imaging is the CT Scan, (also know as Cone Beam Computed Tomography/CBCT). CT Scans provide both the bone height and width volume to the millimeter! We can also visually see all anatomical structures, including nerves, blood vessels, sinuses, location of tooth roots, and bone concavities and aberrations in bone shape. From the CT Scan we can, without a doubt, determine exactly how much bone is present, the quality of bone, and where dental implants should be placed.
Surgical guides are useful mouthguard-like-stents which are fabricated after CT Scan planning. Once the CT Scan is taken and we determine where the implant(s) should be placed, surgical guides are fabricated to guide the dentist during surgery to allow the dentist to place the implant exactly where we planned on the computer! Gotta love technology! This removed all components of ‘guessing’ during surgery, and removes all error-related dental implant complications.
Other considerations that the patient must decide is whether s/he would like a non-removable or removable solution for their final prosthesis. For single teeth, only a non-removable solution is recommended. However, for full arch cases, removable solutions are an option, depending on cost, their bite, bone volume, and cosmetics. Previous medical and dental history must be determined and reviewed to ensure there are no contraindications to the long term success of the implant. If the prosthesis is not immediately placed after surgery, a temporary solution may be required until the final prosthesis is fabricated.
Dental implants are a very satisfying tooth replacement solution, and if the right planning is performed, they can and should last a lifetime! Contact our dental implant North York Toronto dentists with any further questions!