In years past, performing surgical or implant dentistry meant using two-dimensional dental X-rays for diagnostics and treatment guidance. Once your dentist began the procedure, they had to open up the tissues in front of them to see what they were working with. Today, we have access to 3D imaging and scanning that essentially allows us to see inside and throughout your oral anatomy beginning from the earliest stages of diagnostics.
Digital Guidance for Implant Placement
3D imaging makes it possible to see exactly where a dental implant ought to be installed. From the exact angle to where it rests alongside other teeth, the details can be manipulated inside of virtual software before your implant procedure. Some implant dentists utilize this planning software to fabricate special implant placement guides, which can be extremely useful if they have a limited point of view or narrow space to work with.
Using a 3D model of your oral anatomy provides safer and more accurate dental implant placement, especially for patients undergoing full mouth reconstruction/rejuvenation.
General or specialty dentists offering restorative treatments are also starting to see 3D dentistry built into more advanced equipment used for things like root canals. Essentially the tools they’re using “talk” to the 3D scan, allowing them to know exactly where they need to be placed in relation to specific tooth structures. This extra set of eyes—so to speak—provides enhanced guidance when there are visual obstructions, limiting the overall invasiveness of the procedure.
Digital Printing and Records
Since digital 3D imaging records a virtual “scan” of your anatomy, some dental providers and labs use them instead of conventional dental impressions. Their high resolution allows the file to be transferred electronically between dentist and dental lab (or milling machine.) From there, custom restorations such as crowns, bridges, etc. can be fabricated to fit the digital mold. The extremely high level of accuracy ensures a proper fit, as there are no physical materials to worry about breaking, warping, or forming bubbles. Plus, the digital process helps save time usually spent on courier, shipping, or processing steps to get the mold from the dentist to lab.
Improved Comfort for Patients
Some people have sensitive gag reflexes or simply feel uncomfortable having someone work inside their mouth. Digital imaging—depending on which type is used—can be recorded with either a small handheld wand that’s traced over the teeth or from the outside of the mouth entirely (such as CBCT scanning.) Being able to avoid messy impressions or a ticklish feeling in their throat can make their dental care experience far more relaxing.
Advanced Dentistry in The Woodlands
Dr. Kip Saunders is one of the trailblazers of implant dentistry in The Woodlands, Conroe, and the North Houston area. As a leader in specialized care, we’re able to offer advanced smile care options like individual and full-arch implant therapy.
For advanced implant dentistry near you, contact our office today and reserve a no-pressure consultation.