Improving Precision and Predictability in Dental Work with 3D Technology
As part of the DSD focus group, Dr Elaine Halley and Dr Harriet Morse, together with dental technician Gary Jenkinson from Art Dental Studio, learnt a lot more about the latest advances in digital technology during the planning stages of this innovative process.
Anticipating complicated dental problems
Many patients who come to see us have complex dental situations. One example might be that they have been missing some teeth for many years.
When teeth are extracted and not replaced, the bone disappears and other teeth can tip into the spaces. In addition, if the teeth are replaced with dentures, the design of the denture can sometimes accelerate the speed of the loss of bone, or can cause damage to the remaining teeth.
Dental implants are a very successful treatment to replace missing teeth but there are many considerations. For example, implants need to be placed in bone – so if the bone has worn away, this can be a problem that needs solving before an implant can be placed.
Utilising 3-D technology
In our Perth practice, we have recently installed a CBCT scanner. This scanner uses x-rays to take a 3-D image of your jaw. In this way, we can see exactly how the bone is in 3-D rather than a conventional 2-D image.
This is important as there are nerves in the jaw which need to be avoided. In the upper jaw at the back there is an air cavity or sinus which we also need to stay clear of.
All of this is very technical but replacing missing teeth with implants can be life-changing – not only in the case of appearance but also the ability to chew properly and enjoy food!
It is also important that implants are placed in the correct place for the desired position of teeth. For instance, if an implant is placed in between the desired position for two teeth – this makes the natural appearance of teeth on the implants very difficult.
Visualising the end result
This problem can be lessened by integrating both 2-D and 3-D software.
Technology now exists where we can:
- Take digital impressions of your mouth
- Design the desired smile (DSD)
- And reproduce this digitally to calibrate against the 3D Scan
From this, we can then create precise surgical guides, and the final porcelain work can also be milled direct from the software – or models can be printed using the latest 3-D model printers.
These techniques can be used for small areas of missing teeth, combination cases or full arch restorations often known as Allon4.
The benefit to our patients is predictability of outcome. In dentistry, there are often so many variables and it can be hard to visualise what the final outcome may be.
At Cherrybank Dental Spa, we are committed to keeping up with these technological advances so that we can offer these treatments to our patients – restoring both function and aesthetics to keep our patients healthy and smiling.
Last updated May 2nd, 2018