Advancement of Dental Implant Technology
Modern technology has made placing dental implants more precise and effective, especially with the rise of AI. Read on to learn more about how it all fits together.
Advancement of Dental Implant Technology
post autor
Admin
post date
May 2023
post autor
Admin
post date
May 2023

Advancement of Dental Implant Technology

Cutting-edge technology is changing the way dentists operate (literally). The percentage of dentists who use lasers and cone-beam computed tomography scanners (or CBCT) in their practice increased by around 8-9% from 2021 to 2022. 3D printing is another budding trend with far-reaching applications for how dentists diagnose and treat oral conditions.

However, with new technology comes new challenges. The main one for several years was collating the data gathered by new scanning methods into consistent treatment plans. As advanced as the machines had become, human error made it difficult to keep track of the necessary information.

The advent of AI-enabled software solutions for dentistry has tackled this challenge. Cloud-based software can now be used to collect and generate three-dimensional models with all the data properly aligned for each patient. By cutting out costly human errors, practices can finally reap the benefits of this new technology, allowing their personnel to spend time on more important tasks.

But how did we get here? What applications do AI and other advanced technologies have for dental implant surgeons and their patients? Continue reading for a breakdown of trending technologies used by dental implant practitioners and the impact they’ll have on treatments moving forward.

A Brief History of CBCT

Dental implant surgery sits at a crossroads of many techniques, many of which are currently advancing past their conventional methodologies. Since computer-controlled axial scanners were first introduced in the 70s, Computed Tomography (CT) scans have been a critical diagnostic tool. Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) ran with the idea by using 3D X-ray scanners to create more complex and detailed profiles of patients’ oral structures than was possible using 2D methods.

The rotational scanners take a more complete picture and expose patients to significantly less radiation. CBCT initially had a high barrier to entry due to the high cost of the machinery and the difficulties in sorting the image data. However, the usefulness of the technique spurned the industry to integrate with another emergent technology – Artificial Intelligence – to make data management possible.

How Does AI Fit Into Dental Implant Surgery?

Artificial Intelligence can assist in many stages of dental implant surgery, from diagnosis to planning. The trick is using the right tools to capitalize on its advantages. Despite the advanced thinking protocols that theoretically bring AI-enabled machines one step closer to thinking like humans, they are not infallible.

In diagnostics and treatment planning, AI is used sparingly, favoring the observations of the experienced human professional. Despite this, its ability to collect massive amounts of data allows AI to help practitioners make well-informed decisions. Its ability to integrate with 3D scanners allows for even more optimization, as implants can now be fitted to individual patients with more accuracy than ever before.

CBCT scans come into play here to offer a complex model that AI can use to create accurate appliances. The files used by this system (STL) can be more accurately segmented and aligned than when managed by human operators, which was the most challenging part of using these devices before. With the help of machine learning, CBCT and intra-oral scans can be used in tandem to create more accurate and beneficial models on which surgeons can base their treatment plans.

AI-enabled tools such as Virtual Patient Creator (Relu) aid dental implant surgeons with managing numerous data-driven tasks at once, unified by cloud services that keep the data accountable.

The Benefits of VR and AR

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are useful adjuncts to new technology systems. They present new opportunities for patient engagement and diagnosis.

With the use of AR devices, dental surgeons can view 3D models of patient’s oral structures in true 3D, using holographic projections in AR-enabled devices such as AR glasses. These devices allow surgeons to fine-tune the position, inclination, and depth of the dental implants with pinpoint accuracy in a truly realistic diagnostic setting. In collaboration with the lab and patient feedback, these devices enhance the treatment planning process and make communicating the patient’s plan far easier. 

This transformative approach to 3D planning removes the need for conventional guided implant surgery software or traditional 2D radiographic sections, resulting in an intuitive, cost-effective, and enjoyable planning experience. The spatial positioning of the planned implant can be saved, exported, and combined with other files for the creation of a surgical guide using open-source software. In short: these techniques make diagnosis and treatment planning faster, more accurate, and more adaptable than ever before.

The Takeaway for Dental Patients

New technologies can greatly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of dental diagnostic procedures. When used correctly, trending methods in the fields of AI, VR, and AR can take dental implant surgery into the next century.

Yet, these new methods may induce stress in some patients, which is why our team at the Florida Dental Implant Institute is dedicated to our patient’s needs. We always take the time to educate our patients on the treatment options available to them and what they can expect from the outcome. Dr. Eberle uses his experience performing over 40,000 successful dental surgeries to educate new patients about their unique situation, ensuring that even if new techniques are used, our patients are always well-informed about their purpose, uses, and potential drawbacks.