Our office uses a method for placing implants called Guided Implants. Traditionally, the placement of implants has been a surgical procedure. The surgeon would make an incision in the gums, create a flap, and would expose the bone tissue. The implant was then placed into the bone approximately where the surgeon determined the implant should go, and the gum was sutured (stitched) back in place.
A recovery time of 2-5 days was needed after the surgery for the gums to heal. Many times, the surgery was completed under sedation, thus requiring the patient to take an entire day off work. In rare cases, the implant was placed too close to a nerve, a blood vessel, or the sinus cavity and caused damage.
Guided implant placement is a vastly different procedure. It is more precise, more comfortable, and most patients can return to work right after the procedure. Guided implant placement begin with a 3-D scan of the patient’s head and neck using the Galileos conebeam scanner.
Next, Dr. Goodwin determines the precise location for the implant placement, thus avoiding nerves, blood vessels, and the sinus cavity. Then, he makes a guide with a 3-D laser printer that fits over the patient’s existing teeth. The guide identifies the exact location, depth, and placement of the implant into the patient’s bone. The implant area is numbed with local anesthesia, the guide is placed over the patient’s teeth, and the implant is placed into the bone at the exact position identified with the scans. A healing cap is placed over the implant until the implant osseointegrates (fuses with the bone).
With guided implant placement, patient’s experience minimal pain and swelling. Most patients return to work the same day, and there is less risk of damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the patient’s jaw and sinus. After a healing period (typically 3-6 months), the implant is restored with an implant crown, a bridge, or with an implant-supported denture that snaps onto several implants.