Betty Watts says her dentures have always been uncomfortable. In 40 years, she's had 7 different pairs, ut a new technology at the University of Pacific in Oakland, California, may help patients like Betty get the smile they want in just one hour.
A CT Scan of the mouth using special software made by Nobel Biocare creates a 3D picture for surgeons, so they can actually see a virtual model of what the patient would look like with dentures and then pre-make the set before the surgery. That surgical template then guides the doctor to the precise place to implant a new bridge in Betty's mouth.
"The most wonderful part of this implant procedure is that when implants are placed it mimics biologically what teeth do... So patients jawbones stop dissolving," said Dr. Edmond Bedrossian, an oral surgeon.
Dr. Bedrossian is the director of implant training at that Oakland Facility, and he told me in a phone interview tonight that instead of 2 and a half to 3 hours in surgery as it takes now this virtual software shortens dental implant surgery to less than one hour. That's how long it took his team to implant Betty's new permanent prostehesis: acrylic teeth that he says should last at least ten years.
Again, this is something new in Oakland and 4 other places in the U.S.and the closest doctor to Lubbock using the CT Scan for dental implants is Dr. Gil Triplet at the University of Texas in Houston, but the new software with this procedure is expected to become widely available in the coming months.