We often use digital impressions to plan patient's treatment. This technique uses a scanner to take a "digital" impression of teeth and gums. It is used to make models, plan treatment “virtually" (using computer-aided design techniques) and construct guides for the optimum implant position. This reduces surgical time and improves post-operative recovery times.
After the implant has been placed, digital impressions can be taken to make the final restorations. They are highly accurate and more pleasant for patients than “conventional" impressions.
Our in-house CT scanner provides scans which are essentially 3D X-rays showing details of the underlying bone, nerve positions and other important anatomical structures. Not all cases require a CT scan, but their use is becoming more commonplace. They can often be merged with the digital impression to increase the accuracy of implant planning and therefore the final outcome.
In the upper jaw at the back of the mouth, some patients have insufficient bone height to consider implants without building up or “augmenting" the site. This augmentation procedure is called a sinus lift. By raising the sinus membrane of the sinus floor and using a graft material, new bone growth can be induced to enable implants to be placed.
Bone augmentation (grafts)
This technique enables the reconstruction of the site where the implant is to be placed - if there is a defect in the bony ridge.
This can either be a separate procedure (prior to implant placement) or carried out at the time of surgery - depending on the nature of the defect.
Graft materials can be synthetic, animal derived or taken from the patient.
Guides are produced from a CT scan. During surgery, the guide is placed in the patient's mouth, providing the highest level of accuracy when placing the implants by predetermining the optimum position exact depth and angle, especially useful in the case of multiple implants and those used for overdentures and bridgework.
Soft Tissue Grafts
These can sometimes be necessary to improve the appearance or ease of cleaning around implants.
A soft tissue graft uses a membrane or tissue taken from the mouth often the palate.