Implant dentistry is advancing so quickly that soon almost all patients will have same-day teeth and robotics will help make surgery less invasive.
In general the trends in implant dentistry have been placing implants in more difficult places or more difficult circumstances, using less drastic procedures, having them heal faster and look better. It was considered a crazy idea 20 years ago to think that patients could walk out of an office with teeth the same day of treatment. We do that routinely now.
In the future, we will be able to do that even more frequently than we do now. We probably can do it three quarters of the time today based on the circumstances of the case. I imagine we will be doing it 90% of the time in a couple of years and replace almost any tooth and load it immediately, which means it will be functional that same day.
There is also a trend toward doing fewer bone grafts because shorter and smaller implants seem to be as successful as longer and wider ones which require more bone. In a sense, we are developing the ability to do more with less.
Some of the challenges we have had in the past, particularly in terms of complications with dental implants, have been cement getting stuck around implants and causing bone loss and infections. We are going to see different attachment mechanisms that no longer require screwing a crown or cementing a crown to an implant. We are just going to snap them into place, which is going to be quicker, simpler, and more trouble free.
On another exciting front, I am involved with a company that is developing robotic guidance in order to place implants extremely precisely using a very minimally invasive approach. It is computer assisted surgery and it is similar to what is being done in orthopedics. This new robotic approach will be on the market probably a year from now and although its first generation is rather large, the second and third generations of that unit will be much smaller. This process is also going to allow us to prepare a temporary restoration in advance so that everything is a little bit faster and more streamlined in the treatment process.
Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles
South Florida Center for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
Boca Raton, FL
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