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Using Digital Technology to Place Implants

Updated: Apr 7

When it comes to maintaining bone loss, the ability to chew and enhancing your smile, implants havebecome the gold industry standard for treating a litany of oral health issues. But the most commonmisconception is the cost associated with an implant. This leaves many patients feeling their dreams ofachieving a perfect, healthy smile are too far out of reach.

Implants are the preferred treatment for many dental issues, especially because of how easy they are tomaintain. Digital technology, which includes 3D printing, intraoral scanners, CAD/CAM systems andplanning software, is steadily lowering the expense and also reducing the chair time for patients, which isalways a win.

If you believe that getting implants is out of reach for any reason, but especially financial, Irecommend that you get a second opinion to confirm whether implants are the right course oftreatment and to see if there are other options available. Dentists have many options available today,and I feel it’s important to pass them along to my patients on a regular basis.

The ability for dentists to incorporate digital technology and planning software allows additional controlover the implant treatment plan for each patient. When a patient comes in, I perform a thorough examand take CBCT scans (X-rays) to discover how to best serve my patients. Once completed, I upload all ofthe relevant files and any notes through the digital software and work with the lab to create a treatmentplan. In just a few days, I will receive a surgical guide so that I know exactly where to place the implants.

While I originally learned how to place implants without these new tools, I started incorporating digitaldentistry more and more because it provides a treatment plan that is equally as effective and easy touse—and it becomes more affordable since it tends to take less time than traditional treatment options.

Why a digital workflow?

This is a broad term encompassing any dental technology that involves the use of computer-basedcomponents, including hardware devices and software solutions. The technology provides a clear planon how to complete the work.

The digital workflow is the automation of any process that a dental office uses. So not only can I devisean implant treatment plan, I am able to use this workflow to create orthodontic trays, as there are somecases in which this is needed prior to the implant being placed. I believe that it is an added benefit formy patients, who generally come from underserved areas in the Los Angeles area.

The process allows me to receive treatment plans more quickly and the patient may experience lesstime at appointments getting the work completed.

3D printing

This has become a fixture in dental offices because it allows dentists to print models, aligners, dentures or individual teeth. They tend to be more specialized and are made of high-quality materials.

Intraoral Scanner

This is an oversized pen with a camera on the end that takes high-resolution images in a patient’s mouth and shows conditions and how they may either be prevented or treated. It can diagnose disease before it is visible to the naked eye.

CAD/CAM systems

This is the software that makes it possible for dentists to perform restorations effectively, moreaccurately, and sometimes faster because they can be done in fewer visits.

If you have recently gone to a dentist, but think that implants are out of reach, please get a secondopinion. During the process, make sure to ask questions so that you understand the process as it variesdepending on your specific needs. The more you know, the better the decision-making process will beand the better outcomes you will have.


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