When it comes to implant dentistry, one of the aspects most crucial for success and longevity is the positioning of the implant. We frequently have limited bone available in which to place a dental implant, and getting it in the right spot is important. Surgical guides are made by taking a CBCT, planning/simulating the implant placement on a computer, and then making a drill guide that helps the dentist get the implant exactly where it was planned.
Surgical guides improve the accuracy of implant placement, and can also result in a shorter, less invasive surgical procedure. They are very important in situations where the amount of bone available is limited, or where there is a structure (like a nerve, blood vessel, or tooth) that we don't want to hit and getting the implant exactly in the right spot is critical. Surgical guides are most accurate when they can be placed over adjacent teeth to support the guide rigidly, but can still be used for patients without any teeth.
Even though there are some situations where guides are of limited benefit (for example, when a patient has abundant bone and there are no important structures nearby, or when the implant is placed immediately after extraction), we use surgical guides whenever we can. They are simple to make, easy to use, and result in a less invasive procedure in that they allow a smaller incision in the gums and a faster surgery. This fits in with our philosophy of prioritizing high quality care and outstanding service in our practice. If you'd like to learn more about surgical guides, or about dental implants in general, check out our blog, where we talk about everything dental implants.