After losing a tooth, the alveolar bone is gradually absorbed by the organism, to the point where the “tooth socket” is closed. For some patients, a bone graft procedure is necessary, which is not always successful and may still be reabsorbed in the healing process. Autologous bone grafts – transplanting bone tissue extracted from another site (e.g. hip, thigh) – are the most successful but there are downsides. It is an expensive and painful procedure that can add up to 6 months to the treatment, and is not an option to every patient.
Implants are the best solution for patients in need of dental replacement. However, the current solution is expensive, paid out-of-pocket and does not fit every patient. Worst of all, it is not always successful. Procedures that make the process quicker, less painful, more widely available and achieve a higher success rate are therefore of very high potential.
Prof. Daniel Wismeyer has developed a solution that creates a patient-tailored dental implant. It is designed according to the jawbone structure in each patient. The method consists of scanning the patient’s mouth and producing a virtual model of the dental arch. The software will then design the ideal osteotomy (drilled tooth socket) for the patient’s bone structure, optimizing the load distribution without the need of bone augmentation. Finally, by reverse modelling, it will produce the implant that fits said osteotomy, as well as the tailored tooling to implant it.
The technical feasibility of scanning and producing a tailored implant has been tested in a ex-vivo human jawbone showing promising results using a 3D printer. Further in-human clinical evidence remains to be gathered to prove this novel method successful.