What are Dental Implants?
An implant is a metallic fixture which is inserted into the jaw bone, and it serves as a replacement root for an artificial tooth. The dental implants have recently become a popular choice as a tooth replacement option, both among patients, owing to their excellent durability, lifelike appearance, and lifelong durability. Millions of implants are placed by dentists throughout the world each year, and these numbers are expected to grow considerably in the future.
Now you might wonder “there are millions of dentists practising implant dentistry in Singapore. Why should I choose Dental Designs Clinic”?
The reason is simple. In addition to the unmatched expertise and skills of our dentists, we use the state-of-the-art computer guided implant surgical techniques. Therefore, the implants placed by our dentists have a higher dental implant success rate, superior functionality, and excellent aesthetics.
Why are Dental Implants the Best Tooth Replacement Option?
Perhaps the most critical reason why dental implants are superior to other tooth replacement options is their unique capability to promote bone formation and create intimate contact with the surrounding jaw bone. This property, known as osseointegration, allows any prosthesis which is attached to the implant for tooth replacement to remain firmly stable and fully functional inside the jaws. As a result, the implant-supported artificial teeth not only restore your ability to speak and eat without difficulty, but they also restore your smile and facial aesthetics.
Since the first use of Titanium based dental implants as a tooth replacement option in the 1960s, there have been significant improvements to the implant shape, design and surface morphology. Nowadays, cylindrical implants with improved thread designs have significantly enhanced the osseointegration potential and reduced dental implant risk of failure. Moreover, different types of surface modifications and coatings have allowed the dentists to reduce the time requirements for the implants to achieve stability inside the jaw bones. However, the most crucial achievement in implant dentistry can be attributed to the introduction of 3D-imaging and computer-guided surgical implant placement.
What is Computer Guided Implant Surgery
Currently, most of the dentists throughout the world are placing implants by using a technique known as the “freehand” surgical technique. This means that they will look at the x-ray images and models of your teeth and bones, and then decide the location and angulation of the implant site. However, during the surgery, they virtually go in blindly! So, there are higher chances of implant placement at the wrong location. This can lead to implant loosening, infection and even implant failure.
We don’t want this to happen to our patients. That is why perform computer-guided implant surgery which allows us to visualize and plan each step of your implant treatment, right from the imaging and diagnosis to implant insertion. This technology helps us in precisely determining the best location and angulation for inserting the implant. At Dental Designs Clinic, we use the following state of the art equipment to maximize the success of teeth we replace with dental implants:
1. 3D X-ray/ Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
The CBCT/3D x-ray imaging is used in cases where the conventional x-ray images may not be enough. We use the 3D imaging technology to visualize a 3-dimensional image of your jaw bone where the implant needs to be inserted. This technology also helps us in choosing the right size, shape and type of dental implant for replacing your teeth and to minimize dental implant risk for failure or infection. In addition, we also use CBCT to visualize and protect any important dental structures or nerves which may get damaged during implant insertion.
2. Intra-oral Scanners
At Dental Designs Clinic, we understand that using physical impression materials for making impressions during implant preparation is quite inconvenient for the patient. Also, there are very high chances of error when impression materials are used as they can undergo dimensional changes with time. Keeping this in view, we use intra-oral scanners to make digital impressions of your teeth. These digital impressions are not only highly accurate, but we also feed these images into a special software which helps us in making a detailed plan for implant insertion and in preparation of the prosthesis which will be used for replacing the natural teeth.
3. 3D Printing Technology
Also, our state-of-the-art 3D printers allow us to utilize the digital impression of your teeth in preparing a highly accurate, precisely fitting and naturally beautiful prosthesis for replacing your missing teeth. The 3D printing technology eliminates the errors which can arise during laboratory preparation of your implant-supported crowns or bridges.
Why is Computer-guided Implant Surgery Better than Conventional Implant Insertion?
Now, you might be wondering why guided dental implants are the best. Here are a few reasons:
- Accuracy – when replacing missing teeth with implants, skill and precision matter a lot. The computer-assisted diagnostic equipment we use at Dental Designs Clinic allows us to determine the best site and angulation for placing the implants. We also use 3D printing to prepare surgical guides which help our dentists during implant surgery to insert the implant without any chance of error.
- Durability – the prostheses we prepare for replacing your teeth with the 3D printing technology minimizes errors which are often observed during laboratory fabrication. As a result, these artificial teeth are stronger and more durable than the ones prepared conventionally in the dental laboratory.
- Minimal Dental Implant Risk – computer-guided implant insertion also minimizes the risk of failure and complications which are associated with conventional implant insertion protocols. Also, the healing period is considerably less when dental implants are inserted by using digital
- Aesthetics – another benefit of digital technology is that it provides lifelike aesthetics. When we attach your artificial teeth to the implant, they will blend in perfectly, and you will not be able to distinguish between them and your natural teeth.
- Quick Results – with our digital technology, you can your teeth replaced with implants in a matter of hours! So, if you’re looking for a same-day smile makeover with dental implants, then you can certainly benefit from our computer-guided implant insertion protocol at Dental Designs Clinic.
With conventional implant technology, it can take weeks after your initial implant healing is completed to have your teeth replaced. At Dental Designs Clinic, we understand that your smile is your most important asset and therefore, using computer-guided implant placement techniques, as the implant is placed in the most optimal position, we are able to scan and create the tooth crown to place over the implant much more quickly.
Long Term Advantage of Computer Guided Implant Surgery
When we choose to have an implant in our body, we want it to last a long time. As the teeth are used every day, they are subjected to a lot of daily stresses during chewing, acids from the food we eat, normal wear and tear, and of course, any accidents that may happen unexpectedly, such a fall or physical trauma. Therefore, it is inevitable that some time through the years, they may require repair or replacement of the exposed portion.
A dental implant has two main parts, the implant body which is placed during the computer guided implant surgery, and the tooth replacement portion, the implant crown. The crown portion is attached to the implant body by two methods:
- Screw retained implant crown: This is held in by a small screw so that it can be easily accessed and in future, repairs can be made more easily. This is more difficult to do as the implant needs to be placed in a favourable position for the screw retained implant crown.
- Cement on implant crown: This is a traditionally used method whereby the crown is irreversibly cemented on. It’s typically used when the implant body has been placed in a poor position. if in future the crown chips or needs to be replaced due to wear and tear, or accidents, the dentist would have to drill through the cemented on crown and in some cases, replacement the whole implant (through another surgery!)
With Computer guided implant surgery, the implants are placed precisely in the jaw bone, so that we can use screw retained implant crowns for your long term benefit.
At Dental Designs Clinic, we use a 3D intra-oral scanner to take accurate molds of your teeth, which have less errors and are more comfortable than the usual technique, which is with manual dental molding. The 3D teeth model is then merged with the 3D x-ray of your jaw bone, and used together to determine the most optimal position within the bone for your implant. This allows us to be able to maximise the success rate of the implant, as well as avoiding crucial anatomical structures such as the lower jaw nerve, mental nerve, sinuses, and the roots of other teeth. The guide is then 3D printed with biocompatible resin. Each computer guided implant guide is individually customised for each implant that we place.