Dental Implant Prosthetic Options

Michael Tischler, DDS
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The correct prosthetic options for our patients are based upon factors such as the patient’s budget, aesthetic and functional requirements, the patient’s presenting gingival/osseous and overall health, and much more.

Let’s take a brief look an important topic in implant dentistry: dental implant prosthetic options. Implants Today Advisory Board member Scott Ganz has said that “Patients come to us for teeth, not for implants.” In reality, dental implants are a foundation, similar to how a building’s architectural design includes a foundation. Just as with a building design, the foundation must support the visual and functional results. In my lectures, I often demonstrate this analogy by comparing photos of the stages of building my dental facility to photos of the progress of a full-arch implant case. There are many parallels: First, the architectural plan for an implant case is the CT scan. The CT scan assists in guiding the clinician on implant positions relative not only to the patient’s anatomy, but also to the final prosthetic result. In building construction, the beams that support a building are placed relative to the final aesthetic design of the building. So, it is the same with both of these disciplines: A complete plan must coexist before any building construction or implant placement begins.

As dentists, our treatment plans must be fully developed prior to planning implant placement positions. The treatment plans for our patients are formed based on educating patients on the available prosthetic options. Once a final prosthetic option—based upon informing the patient on available prosthetic options—is chosen, the positons of implants and number of implants can be planned. For instance, an implant-supported overdenture has different implant placement position requirements than a fixed implant-supported bridge. Just as with the architect who creates the construction plans, the building owner must decide the use and final aesthetics of a building along with many other considerations.

The correct prosthetic options for our patients are based upon factors such as the patient’s budget, aesthetic and functional requirements, the patient’s presenting gingival/osseous and overall health, and much more. To continue the analogy, with construction, the plans will differ if a house is being built on a windy cliff vs being built on wetlands.

In implant dentistry, there are many prosthetic options and materials available that we can offer our patients. It is important for clinicians to stay current so that the latest materials and techniques can be used. An example is the increase in use of zirconia implant-supported crowns vs PFM crowns. With full-arch treatment, there is a trend toward more zirconia full-arch bridges vs acrylic bridges. Another trend in implant dentistry is the increase in screw-retained implant prosthetics vs cement-retained.

In this issue of Dentistry Today, our featured cover author, Dr. Sam Simos, presents an excellent article about the implant-supported overdenture option. This clinical case report article demonstrates a great example of one of the many full-arch implant options.

If you have any questions or comments about this topic, or any other subject presented in Implants Today, feel free to contact Dr. Tischler at mt@tischlerdental.com.

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