If you are getting dental implants but you don't need bone grafts or other preparatory surgeries, you may still be surprised by the amount of planning that your dentist will need beforehand. One important aspect of planning for the dentist is how to approach implant angulation.
Angulation refers to the implant post's direction of insertion in the jaw bone. Read on to learn why proper angulation is so important and see how your dentist prepares for this aspect of surgery.
Why Is Proper Angulation So Important?
In order for an implant to be successful, the titanium post has to integrate with bone tissue. If a post isn't angled in the right way, it can actually damage surrounding oral structures, like adjacent tooth roots and periodontal ligaments. Instead of integrating with bone tissue, improperly angled implants could actually cause resorption, or bone atrophy!
Proper angulation is also important for force distribution. Natural tooth roots have a sensation of pressure and bite force, but implants don't have this sensation. High levels of biting force can potentially damage implant components if the implant isn't ideally angled and integrated into the jaw bone.
How Does Your Dentist Plan for Proper Angulation Before Surgery?
Thankfully, your dentist has many tools at their disposal to plan for proper angulation before surgery. For example, they will likely take many X-rays and other imaging scans to understand your case. They may take a computed tomography scan (CT) or 3D cone beam scan to get accurate measurements of structures that may be warped in certain images, like panoramic X-rays.
After images and measurements are recorded, your dentist may take an impression of your mouth and send the impression to a dental lab. At the dental lab, a dental technician will create a plaster model of your teeth out of the impression. This plaster model can be scanned by CAD/CAM software, where virtual implants can be placed in an ideal position before the final surgery.
Once these virtual implants are placed, the CAD program can then send the information to a 3D printer to create an acrylic guide, called a stent. Stents look similar to plastic mouth guards, but they have access holes cut out that imitate the angle of implant insertion. Stents can act as guides during surgery, and they can help dentists measure the height and width of the available jaw bone before implant placement.
Reach out to your local dentistry clinic for more details about planning and preparation for implant surgery.