Computer Guided Implant Surgery-

With the advent of cone beam CT scan technologies (CBCT) some offices performing dental implant surgeries have also invested in CT imaging machines that help facilitate the most accurate placement of any implant. A CBCT is an X-ray machine that takes a 3Dimensional image of the head rather than just a 2 dimensional picture like a conventional dental x-ray or panoramic film. A cone beam 3D x ray is a digital imaging system that relies on computer processing and special image manipulation software to digitally reconstruct the entire bony structure of a person’s skull. If an implant surgeon like Dr. Haywood has precise information about where bone is or where it needs to be repaired, he can offer patients insight into their needs based on the most current diagnostic technology available. Our patients deserve nothing less than this kind of care as the foundation of their exceptional implant treatments.

Failures of dental implants- some background.

Dental implants statistically fail about 2% of the time. This is actually great news because many other dental procedures such as root canals can fail as often as 25% of the time! We mention implant failures because implants generally will not fail if they are placed in an ideal position. Without the use of the CBCT planning to guide digital implant placement, the exact placement of a dental implant cannot be assured. We see cases of poorly placed implants that have failed or look unattractive from other offices regularly. Failures are especially tragic when surrounding bone is lost in addition to the poorly placed implant. Poorly placed implants in the upper maxilla (the smile zone) can negatively affect the smile for a lifetime. We fix bad implants in our offices. CBCT digital implant planning is the reason we have the success we do. There should be no compromises involved in implant placements. In our offices, digital implant planning and guided implant placements are cornerstones of our exceptional implant service.

CBCT diagnostics-

A 3D x-ray in our office takes no longer than a conventional 2D panoramic x-ray. Our machine has the state-of-the-art “Green CT” as developed by VATECH USA. The radiation dose is extremely small. There is no comparison to the high radiation dose of a CT scan in a hospital versus our Green CT machine. In about 15 seconds the digital information from your scan will start to be transferred to our planning software. Within 3-4 minutes the software has reconstructed your entire facial bone structure. It takes a few more minutes with the software and our staff can virtually place an implant in this digital environment to simulate what is possible in an actual surgery. We would ideally like to see lots of bone in the spot we anticipate for an implant however that is not always what we see. Deficiencies in the quantity and quality of bone can also be discovered. If you require bone augmentation grafting as a part of your care we will know this at this visit as well. CBCT diagnostics take the guesswork out of dental implant surgery and allow our patients to experience the finest care and best surgical outcomes in our profession.

Guided implant placement-

Once a treatment has been accepted, the digital implant placement plan is transferred to our implant surgical guide manufacturer. The digital information we send is used to make a precision surgical guide on a 3D printer. The guide will be sent back to us after it is approved by Dr. Haywood. The guide itself has holes in it that accept our Biohorizons guided surgery drills and special metal sleeves. Using the implant surgical guide and the Biohorizons guided surgery kit we can place our new implant exactly to the position of the

virtual surgery

we did on our computer software when the image was first made!

Guided implant surgery is important when


  1. there is minimal roof for error and there is very little available bone
  2. a specific placement angle is required to achieve the best outcome
  3. multiple implants need to be almost parallel to one another.
  4. maximum accuracy is required.

Cost of implant guides– $450-950.
Time to construct an implant guide- 2-3 weeks.
Cost of CT scan – $375-575
Are surgical guides covered by insurance? Probably not.
Do all implants require an implant guide? No, there are specific times when it is not indicated and where an experienced surgeon should be able to better place them free hand.