Proper Dental Implant Placement

Proper placement of dental implants involves careful diagnostic techniques which include 3-dimensional CAT scans, diagnostic models of your teeth and jaws, surgical guide models, and surgical implant alignment guides. Careful planning and coordination between the surgeon and the restorative dentist are also critical for a successful outcome.

Here is an example of a patient who is having his lower left first molar replaced with a dental implant:


In this lateral view, notice the ample space allowed between the tip of the dental implant, indicated by the “up” arrow, and the nerve canal, indicated by the “down” arrow. There is an ample safety zone allowed to avoid any nerve impingement and nerve inflammation. Notice also the dark halo around the implant. This is the healing zone. The implant has just been placed, and the bone will now grow into this healing zone and become solidly integrated with the implant.

proper-implant-placement-2Here is a cross-sectional frontal view, taken from the three-dimensional CAT scan.

Again, notice how far the tip of the dental implant is from the nerve canal, which is marked with the red arrow. We have about 8 millimeters of space here. 2-3 millimeters is required to minimize the risk of inflammation of the nerve canal.

Notice also that the implant is solidly anchored in bone. There is the cancellous bone, which is dark in the radiograph. It is relatively porous, and it forms the bulk of the interior of the lower jawbone. The more dense cortical bone is indicated with the yellow arrows. It encases the cancellous bone. It is a lighter color on the radiograph. It’s important that the implant be surrounded by good, strong cortical bone for adequate support.

Proper placement is a result of careful diagnostic records and careful selection of implant type and size. The type and size of implant is determined by consultation between the implant surgeon and the restorative dentist. In this particular case, a 10×5 millimeter implant was selected, which gives an adequate size to bear the load of a molar tooth, while minimizing surgical risk.

Compare this case with that of another that illustrates improper dental implant placement.

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