Technology has been continually progressing in the field of dental implantology since the 1980s after Branemark’s landmark presentation at the 1982 Clinical Dentistry and Osseointegration Conference atToronto.
Innovations in Implant Dentistry
Innovations include developments in the thread designs of the implants and coating technology in addition to the 3D scanning system:
- There have been great innovations in implant coating technologies which help dental implants integrate with the jaw bone. This contributes significantly to the long term durability and stability of the implants. Among these innovations is the technique of coating dental implants with a synthetic bone material.
- The thread design of an implant affects its stability. Innovations in thread design have enabled implants to have increased primary contact area, providing greater stability.
- 3D CT scans use the CBVT (Cone Beam Volumetric Technology) which enables the scanning to be carried out while the patient is in a sitting position. This gives the dental surgeon a detailed view of the position and location in which the implant needs to be placed.
These advancements in dental implant design and jaw bone scanning have made the implant procedure more flexible and increased its capability to be customized to the specific bone structure of the patient. They have made the procedure faster and also easier for the dental surgeon. Dental implants are aesthetically attractive as they appear almost identical to natural teeth. But more innovation is on its way as the 21st century proceeds.
Immediate Loading Dental Implants
Conventionally, following the placement of a dental implant, it was necessary to allow six months for it to heal and integrate with the bone by osseointegration. Only then could the implant be crowned. Now, with the “immediate loading” procedure, the complete implant procedure can sometimes be carried out in a single day.
A Tooth Implant Fixed in a Day
There are three parts in a modern dental implant – the root which is surgically positioned in the bone of the jaw which has the form of a titanium screw, and the abutment that connects this root with the crown. In modern dental implant clinics a CT scan is taken which provides a 3D image of the mouth. The image can be viewed from any direction, to help position the implant accurately. Prior to the use of dental CT scans, the dental surgeon would remove the gum tissue around the tooth root and the jaw bone to measure the density and thickness of the jaw with the use of probes. This technique is eliminated with the availability of the 3D CT scan and in some cases there is no need for a healing period in a procedure commonly known as ‘Teeth in an Hour.’
Stem Cell Research
Stem cell dental implants are the latest innovation in the field, with pioneering research already carried out by theColumbiaUniversity’s Medical Centre. This technology enables growing a tooth within the mouth with the help of stem cells. The research proved that a fully formed human tooth could be grown in around nine weeks; although it is still early days for stem cell dental implants to be used widely and economically, the research opens up a bright future for dental implantology.
New dental implant technologies have made the dental implant procedure simpler and less time consuming. These new technologies have also helped enhance the stability and durability of dental implants.