Q: What is “guided implant surgery”?
Can we please go to phase II now? Have we not been behaving? I don’t mind using a mask; my Chihuahua has a mask on for Christ sakes. If I don’t see yellow school buses in the next two weeks, I will go into a full on depression. And please bring back traffic! (I can’t believe I’m saying this.) This is my barometer of getting back to normal. AND, I refuse to remain friends with anyone who uses the phrase “new normal”. Shoot, even after the plague of 1353, life came back to NORMAL. (Even the rats were saying: “Thank God it’s over. Let’s eat!)
A: Guided dental implant surgery is when we utilize advanced machinery and imaging technology to “guide” the placement of dental implants more precisely and accurately.
Occasionally we have patients that have so much bone loss, there is not much leeway in where the implants can be placed. Implants must avoid perforating the sinuses and certain important nerves on the upper and lower jaws.
In these cases, the guided surgery technique begins with a Cone Beam 3D CT scan which gets sent to a special lab who then makes a clear “surgical stent”. This looks just like a night guard one would use to top snoring or teeth grinding, but contains holes that the bone drills pass through.
This can be quite costly and still does not guarantee that your implants will all be successful. The density of the patient’s bone, medications, oral habits and health issues still can be a negative factor in the survival of the implants.
There are some semi-guided techniques that do not involve the CT scanning and use much simpler surgical stents made by conventionaldental labs. Typical digital X-rays found in all offices are good enough for most cases.
Reporting from the field, Dr. J. Jr. has told me the oral surgery department at Tufts found it necessary in their respective private practices to use guided surgery only 1-2% of the time.