Computer-guided implant surgery, introduced in 1999, is a procedure that has significantly improved the precision and predictability in the replacement of teeth with dental implants.
Computer-guided dental implant surgery enables to place implants in a more precise and less invasive procedure. Here’s how it works: a 3D cone-beam scan of the patient’s mouth is used to create virtual surgery, where models of the patient’s mouth and the 3D scans are overlayed to enable the surgeon to “perform” a simulated procedure. This information is used to create a computer-generated surgical guide to assist in the precise placement of the implants. It is particularly helpful in cases where the margin of error is small, and where a free-handed approach may result in a negative outcome. A guided approach enables the surgeons to know the exact location of vital structures including nerves, tooth roots, bone and sinuses. Guided implant placement is also helpful in cases where all of the teeth in the dental arch are missing and no other landmarks for orientation are present. A guide in this situation allows the surgeon to understand where the planned restorative position will be. Sometimes computer-guided surgery is a valuable communication tool between the restorative dentist and the surgeon, due to the importance of the implant placement being restorative driven and biologically compatible. A guide fabricated by the restorative dentist with the planned restoration in mind helps the surgeon determine whether the planned implant position is possible. When implant placement procedures are precisely guided by a computer, this often results in less pain, swelling, bruising and discomfort following surgery. These procedures also frequently require smaller incisions, which results in a speedier healing process after surgery.