Dental implant therapy is moving into a new age. And this is a very good thing for patients. Imagine the world of the 1600’s, where a journey from Europe to America would take many weeks if not months. With airplane technology, that same trip was reduced to less than one day.
When patients came to me at the beginning of my career for replacing their badly broken down teeth with a new full mouth of teeth, I would often tell them that it may take a year. We would need to allow the bone to heal, the implants to heal and then finally get around to giving them teeth attached to their implants.
However, in my office now, we are routinely giving patients a new smile all within one day. A patient can come with painful, worn down or broken teeth and we can give them implants and teeth attached to those implants all in the same day.
How has this transformation happened? Science has shown a method for performing the surgery which allows for faster healing. But more importantly, the teeth actually stabilize the implants allowing them to heal while the patient has a fixed set of teeth in their mouth.
But just like the initial aircrafts were much slower than today’s jets, their is a second revolution taking place in implant dentistry. This is the revolution of fully guided surgery.
Fully guided surgery allows a procedure that took five to six hours and allows it to be done more accurately in just over two hours. All the planning of the surgery, such as the number and size of the implants, exactly where the implants will be placed, and design of the teeth, are all done ahead of time on a computer. That plan is taken from the computer and transferred to the patient.
There are several advantages to fully guided surgery. A shorter procedure allows for faster recovery and in many cases less pain. Less anesthesia time decreases the potential for complications. The cost for the procedure is less because less time is needed for all the staff and doctors.
So if there are so many advantages to fully guided implant surgery, why isn’t everyone doing it this way? There is a steep learning curve. Some are just not willing to invest the time and effort to learn this procedure. There is also additional cost to the surgeon due to certain instruments that are needed.
Just as newer aircrafts allow for safer and faster travel, fully guided surgery allows for safer and faster restoration of teeth. I am excited to see how this technology will transform even more smiles in my office.