The Latest Technology and Research in Dental Implants

new dental implant technology

The Latest Technology and Research in Dental Implants

By David Hudnall, DMD

Implant technology is a paradigm shift in dentistry that has allowed us to offer tooth replacement options that were never before possible. Even 50 years ago, who could have fathomed the many uses for dental implants and how they would revolutionize the way we think about delivering dental treatment? We are going to review the history of implant technology, look at current technologies, and introduce the newest dental implant technology.

Brief History of Dental Implant Technology

The first titanium dental implant was placed in 1965. Since the 1980s, implantology has steadily gained traction as the preferred method for tooth replacement. Because titanium integrates well with bone, titanium dental implants have become the standard of care that affords patients the ability to function as if they were using their own natural teeth.

For a more in-depth breakdown, we will point you to a well-known article that discusses the history of dental implants.

Current Dental Implant Technology

In 2021, implant dentistry continues to be the fastest-growing segment of all dental services. According to Alghamdi and Jansen (referenced later in this article), the global dental implant market is expected to reach $13 billion in 2023. Although it is now possible to utilize many of the techniques that we will discuss here, there is still work that remains to further advance technology and make implant placement available to all patients.

New Dental Implant Technology

new dental implant technology

Most of the new dental implant technologies we will discuss have been around for a number of years. What’s different is how manufacturers have made innovations and improvements that allow these technologies to be used in ways that were not possible previously.

Scanners

Chairside scanners designed to replace physical impressions arrived on the scene in 2007. Their initial use was limited to capturing impressions of hard tissue for single crowns. The technology evolved and within the last three years, it has become possible to take highly accurate digital impressions of both hard tissue and moveable mucosa for denture fabrication.

Like any of the newest dental implant technology, there is a learning curve involved when you first begin to capture digital impressions. But once the dentist masters the technique, he or she will never go back to taking physical impressions that are prone to distortion and errors.

Digital impressions are also a life-changing experience for dental patients. No more messy, gooey impressions that seem to go on forever. Digital scanning allows implant-retained restorations to be manufactured to precise standards for an exact fit and comfort at delivery, saving time and numerous follow-up adjustment visits.

Digital X-rays

Digital dental x-rays were first available in 1987 and came into widespread use during the mid-1990s. When teeth are x-rayed using digital technology, the patient is exposed to much lower radiation levels compared with film and traditional methodology.

In addition, the images also are clearer, eliminate the need for harmful chemicals, are less time-consuming to produce, and are easier to store. They may be shared with other collaborators electronically without loss of resolution. Digital x-rays revolutionized new dental implant technology and placement, making it possible to quickly and easily expose x-rays during surgery to ensure proper implant placement.

Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

CBCT was first introduced to the US in 2001. This low-radiation scanning system literally takes hundreds of digital images of the teeth, jaws, nerves, gums as it revolves around the patient’s head. The images are compiled by computer software and are stitched together to form a 3D rendering of the jaws and surrounding structures that can be observed from any angle in space.

CBCT has become an integral part of treatment planning for the latest dental implant placement surgeries, allowing the clinician to avoid vital structures and optimize implant placement and angulation, as well as diagnose hard tissue abnormalities and tumors. CBCT has also helped in the advancement of dental robotics.

Robotics

Dental robotics for implant placement was first developed in 2002. Something this complex takes a long time to refine and receive clearance for use from the FDA. In 2017, it finally happened.

Implant robotics integrates CBCT to improve the clinical accuracy of the latest dental implant technology and placement surgery by providing physical guidance and limitations of the drill’s depth, orientation, and position. This eliminates the problem of hand deviation by the operator. The result is a less invasive surgery and the ability to accurately place dental implants in patients with decreased quantities of alveolar bone.

This new dental implant technology also compensates for patient movement. At present, robot-guided systems cannot be used on totally edentulous patients. This drawback is expected to change in the near future as technology improves. As of 2021, robotics is financially out of reach for most clinicians. But with rapidly improving technology, the price will come down and it will become a more commonplace means for implant placement.

Implants Designed for Immediate Loading

Although it has become common practice to place dental implants in extraction sites, it’s not always possible to gain primary stability. The risk of implant failure is greater when there is insufficient bone quantity or quality to fully secure the implant in all dimensions during immediate placement.

Since 2014, implant manufacturers have recognized this quandary and have begun introducing implants with macro- and micro-topographical surfaces specifically designed to increase primary stability and to accelerate osseointegration of the implant. Clinical research studies are currently underway to determine long-term success rates.

A discussion of the topic can be found: Khalid Almas et al, “What is the best micro and macro dental implant topography?” Dent Clin North America; July 2019; p. 447-460. These technologies may be a “win-win” for the patient and provider if proven to increase success rates for immediate-load implants.

The Future of New Dental Implant Technology

new dental implant technology

Some of the biggest challenges and obstacles to overcome with the newest implant dental technology involve the aging population which includes patients with health issues that are not conducive for favorable implant survival and patients with less-than-ideal quantities of bone by current standards. How do we make dental implants an option available to all?

For expanded reading on this topic, see: Hamdan S. Alghamdi and John A. Jansen; “The development and future of dental implants”; Dental Materials Journal; March 31, 2020; p. 167-172. A link to the research is listed in the references at the end of this article.

Stomadent and New Dental Implant Technology

Stomadent Dental Laboratory was founded upon embracing new technology, becoming an expert, and incorporating improvements into the restorations we manufacture for our clients. As new standards develop, you can be assured that we will continue to be a leader, helping to improve your dental practice with the latest dental implant technology while providing comfortable and aesthetically pleasing restorations at reasonable prices. Better quality made possible by better technology – that’s Stomadent!

Request a free kit

Receive our hassle-free dental lab kit to get started!

Don’t miss a beat — when you need us, you’ll be ready! Our dental starter kit includes everything you need to order dentures, dental crowns, dental bridges, and other dental prosthetics from our dental lab. See for yourself how we can help your dental practice succeed!

  • FedEx two-day return postage shipping labels

  • Dental laboratory prescription forms

  • Three mailing containers

  • Product and service inserts with price list

Your dental starter kit will be shipped via FedEx two-day service.

I’m a Patient

Once you submit this form, your information will be sent to our preferred dental provider. You will also be redirected to our dental directory where you can search our approved providers in your area.

or call us at (208) 888-1927.

Stomadent Free Kit

Receive our dental lab starter kit
today!

Stomadent starter kit

Don’t miss a beat — when you need us, we’ll be ready! Our dental starter kit includes everything you need to order dentures, dental crowns, dental bridges, and other dental prosthetics from our dental lab. See for yourself how we can help your dental practice succeed!

  • FedEx two-day return postage shipping labels

  • Laboratory prescription slips

  • Three mailing boxes

  • Product and service inserts with price list