BACKGROUND: Guided dental surgery based on three dimensional scans, new biomaterials, and what dentists call immediate 'loading' (installation) of the crown over a dental implant now makes it possible to get a complete tooth replacement in just one day. The one-day implant is now possible because the surfaces of the implants have been modified to enhance the rate of its fixation to the bone. The implant surface is treated by immersing it in an acid bath, followed by an anodic electronic charge to create a porous surface. The implant incorporates TiUnite as a replacement bonding agent, a biomaterial made of titanium that actively enables integration with human bone and soft tissue growth around the implant at the gumline. This allows the implant to look more natural, since there is no dark line where the implant and bone are connected.
BENEFITS: Getting an implant used to be a six-month procedure, first placing the implant in the bone and then waiting six moths for the bone to heal before placing the crown on top. With immediate loading, it's now possible to insert the crown the same day the implant is placed. At the same time, new 3D computerized tomography (CT) scanning techniques enable dentists to model and plan the restoration visually from start to finish. Looking at the converted CT scan image in a computer software program, dentists can inspect the bone in every direction, as if they were holding it in their hands. It removes the need for the surgeon to loosen the gum around the bone for inspection, and allows the fabrication of temporary teeth before the surgical procedure. This will make it possible to get a natural-looking dental implant from a regular dentist in just one day, with no need to visit a specialist. There is also less swelling, bruising and inflammation for the patient, in addition to spending less time in the dentist's chair.
ANATOMY OF A TOOTH: We think of teeth as being the part visible above the gum, but this is only the tip, or crown, of a tooth. There is also a neck that lies at the gum line, and a root, located below the gum. The crown of each tooth has an enamel coating to protect the underlying dentine. Enamel is even harder than bone, thanks to rows of tightly packed calcium and phosphorus crystals. The underlying dentine is slightly softer, and contains tiny tubules that connect with the central nerve of the tooth within the pulp. The pulp forms the central chamber of the tooth, and is made of soft tissue containing blood vessels that carry nutrients to the tooth. It also contains nerves so teeth can sense hot and cold, as well as lymph vessels to carry white blood cells to fight bacteria.
ABOUT CAT SCANS: CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans are similar to conventional X-ray imaging, but instead of imaging the outline of bones and organs, a CAT scan machine forms a full three-dimensional computer model of the inside of a patient's body. Doctors can even examine the body one narrow slice at a time. The X-ray beam moves all around the patient, scanning from hundreds of different angles, and the computer takes all that information to compile a 3D image of the body.