***UPDATED: October 18, 2013*** Researchers are always working toward creating an improved version of the already largely successful dental implant. The latest development from a team of dental experts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Michigan Technological University involves the use of a new nanomaterial that has been shown to fight bacterial infection after implant placement as well as improve bone healing. The creation of the inexpensive and easy to use implant has a surface made of titanium dioxide nanotubes, which has demonstrated that when used, bone cells grow faster and adhere better to the material. Additionally, nanotubes provide an effective drug delivery system, allowing anti-inflammatory drug administration easily. For more information, check out this Dental Tribune article.
The technological developments in restorative dentistry continue to excel, making much needed dental work easier and safer for all patients. The use of innovative computer guidance and modifications of instruments is now allowing patients, who previously were not good candidates for dental implants, to benefit from the very effective procedure. A case study in the latest issue of the Journal of Oral Implantology, and reported on in The Dentistry IQ Network, claims that a patient with a very narrow ridge of bone was given a computer-guided implantation successfully; a feat previously found to be extremely difficult. According to the article, “High-risk patients benefit from new techniques for computer-guided implant dentistry,” the new technology reduces both surgery and recovery time.
When dental implants were introduced in the 1980s, the procedure typically consisted of two surgeries, including the use of a temporary denture for at least six months. A decade later, the process was reduced to a single, daylong, surgical procedure known as immediate loading. Computer-guided techniques weren’t introduced until 2002, and the technology has come so far, that some patients can receive a dental implant in an hour or less. This technology does have its limitations though, as anatomical factors still greatly influence success rates. The case study outlined in the Journal of Oral Implantology did, however, overcome hurtles that were previously considered “deal breakers” when determining whether a patient was a candidate for an implant. Deeper implant site preparation was necessary and the virtual planning phase and drilling sequences were adjusted, but despite the patient’s high risk factors for implant failure, the procedure was successful.
Dental implants are a safe and effective way of restoring damaged or missing teeth. With the latest development of technology, this procedure is now available to many more patients than previously believed. If you are unhappy with the appearance or performance of your existing teeth, discuss the option of dental implants with your cosmetic dentist today.