Advances in Implant Dentistry
As the baby boomer population ages, dentists should expect to see more patients requiring implant dentistry. Implant dentistry is one of the hottest topics in dentistry today because its impact is two-fold; it is a life-changing procedure with benefits for the patient as well as the practice.
At the Updates in Contemporary Dentistry Meeting held in Twin Cities, MN, Dr. David Little talked to doctors about diagnosis and implant treatment planning. He encouraged dentists to seek comprehensive training in this field and fully communicate with their office team to successfully incorporate implant dentistry into the practice.
Treatment x 4 = Great Result
Predicting a great result requires that a dentist treat each case 4 times: ?In our minds, in wax, in acrylic, and in porcelain,? according to Dr. Little. Many problems in restoring implants are a direct result of poor planning. Wrong location of implants and poor angulation are two of the issues that can result in problems. These issues can be avoided by starting with a solid clinical examination that looks at periodontal health, the condition of the soft tissue, the detention, the contour of the bone, and vital structures.
Dr. Little also said that ?knowing the numbers? is essential in implant dentistry:
- 2 mm: between implant and tooth
- 3 mm: between two implants
- 7 mm: the vertical height from the implant body to the plane of occlusion
- >1 mm: buccal and lingual thickness of bone around the implant
- 5 mm: the ideal height from the crest of the bone to the bottom of the contact point
A Solution to Tooth Loss
Tooth loss directly impacts a patient?s quality of life. Little explained that losing a tooth can lead to a sense of bereavement, lowered self-confidence, altered self-image, premature aging, and altered behavior in forming close relationships. These emotional stressors will lead patients to seek help for tooth loss.
?Would you rather eat what you want or eat what you can?? is something Dr. Little asks all of his patients when discussing treatment options. While dentures may be a cheaper and faster alternative, studies have shown dentures can contribute to lower self-esteem and quality of life.
Dr. Little also talked about his belief that the future of dentistry is in 3D imaging and CBCT technology.
?CBCT (cone beam computed technology) has really changed what we can do,? he said. ?Once you get that information, what you do with it is more important. We take that information and put it into different scenarios.?
When concluding his presentation, Dr. Little encouraged the participants to embrace the technological advances in their offices and to be enthusiastic about the change. He said to keep in mind that these new products are meant to make dentists more efficient.
Dr. Little on Implant Products
In an interview, Dr. Little said that he uses the ANKYLOS Syncone implant systems, an implant-retained and supported overdenture that can be used for immediate treatment. According to Dr. Little, the ANKYLOS system decreases total treatment time, simplifies technical procedures, and makes them more cost efficient.
For CBCT technology, Dr. Little mentioned that his imaging unit of choice is Planmeca?s ProMax 3D. Dr. Little noted that the imaging is essential to diagnosis, treatment planning, and to store cases for future use. Dr. Little cited the versatility of the product, saying that it is a key feature of the machine. Software updates on the machine keep it current, and Little mentioned that the ability to upgrade eliminates time formerly spent having to train staff.