Precise planning is the basis of good implant treatment. 3D implantology promises you to achieve optimal results with the latest technology. But what exactly is 3D implantology in dentistry? And what do you get out of it?
3D implantology – what is it?
In dentistry, 3D implantology is the three-dimensional X-ray image and 3D planning of implants and the operation on the PC.
To optimally determine the implant position and the prosthetic restoration, a three-dimensional image is taken of your jaw. In contrast to a normal X-ray image, it shows here all structures about one another and from all directions. It then creates a complete model of your jaw on the computer, which can be rotated and turned within the PC program and viewed from all angles. The exact position for your implants is then determined based on this model.
The procedure at the dentist
Step 1: The X-ray template
If you have already decided on implants and the procedure is to be planned for implantation, your dentist will first make a conventional model of your jaw on which he will make an X-ray template. This is like a splint you wear during the 3D exposure, and that allows the dentist to take certain measurements that help him plan the procedure.
Step 2: the 3D image
They now make images with the X-ray template in the patient’s mouth. Either CT (computed tomography) or DVT (digital volume tomography) are suitable for 3D implant planning in dentistry. Incidentally, both use X-rays and thus represent a radiation dose for the body.
Step 3: The virtual representation on the monitor
The data got are now visible on the monitor and show a complete virtual model of the jawbone and the surrounding structures of the patient. Considering the planned prosthesis, the dentist can now virtually plan individually where, at what angle, and how deep the implants are to be placed. He pays close attention to the position of the neighboring teeth, the nerve canals, and the maxillary sinuses, and the thickness of the bone.
Step 4: the drilling template
Using the digital models, a drilling template that exactly fits the patient is made. They wear it just like a splint and contains holes at the points where the implants are to be placed. The dentist then drills the holes for your implants through these holes. He can be sure that he will not damage any structures or drill too deep, which means a smoother and more relaxing treatment for the patient and dentist.
Advantages and disadvantages of 3D implant planning
A significant advantage is that all structures of the jaw, including the course of the nerve canals and the position of the teeth and tooth roots, are shown exactly and their position to each other and in the bone. Therefore, 3D implant planning can reduce the risk of injuries during implantation. The 3D planning can also almost completely ensure that the implants have enough space in the bone, as it maps the jaw in all three levels of space. This prevents implants from piercing the bone in one place or only halfway into the bone. It also includes the subsequent dentures in the planning and it guarantees an optimal fit. The 3D planning can also assess the quality and structure of the bone and thus determine whether bone augmentation may be necessary.
The advantages briefly:
- Risk of injuries during implantation extremely reduced
- It ensures that the dental implants have enough space in the bone
- Position of the implants perfectly matching the subsequent dentures
- Reliable diagnostics regarding the bone structure
- Smooth and relaxed treatment for patient and dentist
The major disadvantages for you are the higher radiation exposure and higher costs. However, it must be said that every procedure for dental implants requires x-rays. With a CT or DVT, however, the radiation dose is slightly higher. The higher costs must also be seen in the total costs: Implants are always an investment. However, saving on planning can cost you dearly if a lack of information results in a treatment error during the implantation.
The disadvantages briefly:
- higher radiation exposure than normal X-ray
- higher cost
Conclusion: is 3D implantology worthwhile for me?
The advantages of virtual planning for your dental implants outweigh the disadvantages: higher costs contrast with a lower risk of injury and better prosthetic restoration, and the longer shelf life of the dental implants. To reduce the costs for your treatment, a price comparison or additional dental insurance taken out in good time are recommended.