Implant dentistry made easy through modern technology

PHOTO: Implant dentistry made easy through modern technology

If you are missing a tooth, you have an abundant amount of choices for tooth replacement, including dental implants, the most stable and efficient of all the dental prosthetic options.

Dental implants are an incredible advancement in dental technology, and they have only gotten better over the years.

Traditionally, many people were averse to the idea of having dental implant surgery, especially during an invasive procedure such as this.

The perception of a great deal of pain also oftentimes leads to hesitance in going through with such a procedure.

However, it is essential that patients replace their missing teeth, as this can lead to many other dental problems down the line.

Luckily, one of the best things to come along in dentistry just got better.

New dental technology has improved the dental implant procedure, and dentists literally have the process down to a science.

This translates to advances that ensure that implant treatment is safe, and that waiting times for patients replacing their missing teeth are shorter and more immediate.

An analogy of how patients can request for advanced technology in dental implants is the choice of technology during lasik treatment - patients can choose to have the surgery done with conventional surgical blades or laser during the entire procedure, which greatly enhances safety and accuracy.

Similar to eye treatment, dental patients need to demand for the use of the most recent technology during their implant treatment to achieve the best outcomes.

Using planning software with the most advanced hardware equipment, dentists are equipped then to prepare dental implant surgery through 3-dimensional imaging, and can plan the procedure through a virtual mock-up of the patient's mouth, which eliminates cutting through the gums to find the bone.

This, in turn, means less pain and healing time for the patient. During the planning stages, your prosthetic tooth is made in a lab, and can be ready in time for the patient's dental surgery.

Although the implant still needs to heal, the patient can go on with his/her life faster and happier than usual.

The investment on technology can be hefty, and hence, only larger centres may put in such an investment.

One such centre is the T32 Implant Centre. Some of the technology utilised at T32 Implant Centre include:

1. Technology used during examination:

a. Technological advances like the use of low-dose in-office 3-dimensional CT scan need to be used to avoid placement of implants into nerves and other important structures.

b. Low dose radiation is also important and the latest digital x-ray machines produce lower dose of radiation compared to older machines.

c. Computer planning software can be used to better predict the final outcome of the implant treatment even before the surgery

2. Technology used during surgery:

a. Computer guided technology is a modern piece of technology that can guide the placement of implants in an accurate manner. The positions of the implants are pre-planned using computer software.

The dentist will then follow the pre-planned positions to place the implants.

b. Lasers can be used for certain procedures to reduce post-op discomfort.

c. Microscope and fine instruments can also be helpful in reducing post-op discomfort.

3. Technology used during placement of crowns:

a. Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD-CAM) technology can be used to create crowns to be fitted onto implants.

The use of CAD-CAM will ensure the durability and the precise fit of crowns.

With newer dental implant technology available today, dental implants may be the way for you - don't hesitate to discuss your options with your dentist.

With greater innovation in dental implants, you can have that beautiful smile that will last you a lifetime.

This article was contributed by Dr Ang Chee Wan, Dental Specialist in Periodontics and Clinical Director of the T32 Specialist Division, part of the Visiting Faculty of National University of Singapore and a Visiting Specialist at the Singapore Armed Forces.