Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Computer-Assisted Planning For Placement of Dental Implants

Dental implants have become the optimal treatment option for replacement of missing teeth. They have 98% + success rate and have allowed many patients achieve normal eating and smile without the irreversible damaging effect of other alternatives such as bridges or dentures.

To achieve optimal functional and aesthetic results with dental implants, it is crucial that the patient has adequate bone and gum tissues and the implants are positioned properly in all dimensions. Utilizing readily available office CT scans, it is now possible to obtain cost effective cross sectional images of the patient's jaws that can then be converted to 3-dimensional images. These images reveal accurately the dimensions of the existing bone as well as the vital anatomical structures in proximity, such as nerves and sinuses. Often, the dentist first makes a special prosthesis (embedded with barium sulfate) that takes into account the final bite and teeth positions. Patient then wears this prosthesis during the CT scan creating radiological marks on those images. These marks represent the future sites of the crowns and the proposed positions of the dental implants, a critical tool in initial diagnosis and planning.

Utilizing a special software, we then convert the obtained CT scan into 3-dimensional computer images that give us a 360 degree view of the patient's jaw, available bone, its anatomy, and the surrounding vital structures. Next we place virtual dental implants in their previously determined and planned positions guided by the marked sites on the CT. The result is a computer model demonstrating the the existing bone anatomy, vital structures, and accurately positioned dental implants that will eventually support the patient's teeth.

This 3-dimensional computer model is then used to fabricate a surgical guide or stent that translates the implant positions in the computer to a working jig that will be used by the oral surgeon during placement of the implants. These custom made gigs are extremely well fitting allowing the surgeon to easily and accurately place the implants in their appropriate positions. Once healed, the implants can easily be restored by the patient's dentist knowing the foundations (i.e. dental implants) are in the right place and orientation.

We are utilizing this cutting edge technology on many patients allowing us better diagnosis, less complications, more accurate implant positioning, shorter and less invasive surgeries, and enhanced results that meets the patients' goals.

Dr. H. Ryan Kazemi is a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Bethesda, Maryland. He is a clinician and lecturer on the topic of dental implants, bone grafting, and other oral surgery procedures. He also produces video podcasts on dental implants and oral surgery to educate dentists and patients for making better and more engaged decisions about their oral health.

To reach Dr. Kazemi for this story and others:

Tel: (301) 654-7070


Visit our video podcasts on:
1) iTunes: search word- 'dr. kazemi'
2) search 'dr. kazemi's oral surgery channel'
3) YouTube: search 'implantguru'

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