Integration of guided surgery into practice

Digital workflow combined with usability and performance – there is no better time than now to embrace digital implant technology as Czarmaine Masigla writes more.

Breakthrough in dental technology has empowered dentists to be more confident in carrying out treatment procedures for their patients. And patients can ultimately benefit from more treatment options available and have procedures performed with higher accuracy and less discomfort.

In the area of digital implant dentistry, advancement in treatment planning software, surgical guides and digital scanning technology allows for greater precision and implant reliability. This is particularly true for Dr Jonathan Loa, a Belgian implantologist, who believed that implants will more often be placed in a guided manner and the developments in implant platforms have enabled more dentists to integrate dental implant procedures into their practices.

“Surgical guides are more accessible and affordable nowadays which is a good thing,” he noted. “Digital planning makes the implant placement more predictable and therefore I expect more general dentists to place implants.”

For Dr Loa, his first step into digital dentistry started with the acquisition of an intraoral scanner in 2020. He was also introduced to the exoplan by the dental technician he works with who was passionate about digital dentistry, as he elaborated: “I already knew exocad through the dental technicians I work with. The exoplan gives me peace of mind when placing implants because I know for sure that the position will be as planned.”

The exoplan from exocad is an implant planning and surgical guide design software that allows dental labs, dentists, implant specialists and surgeons to either plan and produce surgical guides in-house or outsource the planning, design and manufacturing. Besides supporting prosthetic-driven planning, exoplan offers a comprehensive selection of validated and tested implant, drill and drill sleeves libraries.

In using exoplan, Dr Loa valued the wizard mode which takes the user to the surgical guide production process, thus making the software user-friendly. He also favoured the virtual extraction tool as the cases he performs are immediate placements after extractions.

He continued: “I like to fact that exoplan is an open system which, on top of that, is the same ecosystem my dental technicians work in. This comes in handy when they need to fabricate immediate provisional restorations based on my implant planning.”

Step ahead

Moving forward, Dr Loa remains positive on the outlook on technological innovations in the dental industry. One of which is the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) which might leave different degrees of impact across different fields in dentistry. He highlighted that AI will not only improve dentists’ workflows but also enhance the quality of the work they do.

And in embracing digital dentistry, his advice to fellow dentists was to keep an eye on the horizon. “Surround yourself with passionate people, also on social media. A lot of information can be found on several social media platforms, which can serve as an inspiration to discover new techniques or improve on existing ones. Of course, you have to be careful and critical towards all this information but there are a lot of people who like to share their knowledge,” he concluded.

Published in Dental Asia July/August 2022 issue.