Computer-Guided Implant Surgery

One of the advances in technology that is applied in our practice is the usage of 3D computer guided surgery. This process includes the planning of your case on a three-dimensional digital image where we can determine the anatomical features of the site to be treated including the relationship of important structures like nerves, your maxillary sinuses and the spaces of your salivary glands. Once we complete the planning, a computer fabricates a guide transferring the information we provided in the 3D planning. This guide is then utilized during surgery to place your implants. This technology allows the surgical procedure to be completed in the computer like a simulator.


At Sound Surgical Arts we have an office based Cone Beam CT scanner (CBVT). CT scans (also known as CAT scans) were introduced to medicine in the mid-1970’s. The “C A T” stands for “Computed Axial Tomography.” Basically, this describes a method of rotating an x-ray around the patient and using a computer program to reconstruct the image. The image can then be viewed in three dimensions. The 3-D advantage point is sometimes critical to making an accurate diagnosis or planning a precise surgical procedure.

Compared to plain x-rays, CT scans display remarkably more detail and without superimposition of images, unlike regular dental x-rays. Since the CT uses a computer to create a picture, the images can be viewed from a three-dimensional perspective. X-rays on the other hand, lack depth perception. Objects that are in front or in back of another become superimposed and impossible to evaluate on x-ray.

Cone Beam CT Scan

In 2001 a version of the CT machine called the Cone Beam CT Scanner was introduced. Cone Beam borrows much of the original technology of hospital CT scans but the new technology reduced the size of the machine, significantly reducing the amount of radiation needed for an image, similar now to approximately one extra-oral radiograph.

We introduced in our office the CBVT (Cone Beam CT) in January of 2008. A cone beam scan allows us to evaluate the location of the sensory nerves of the lower jaw, the sinuses of the upper jaw, and the exact angulations of tooth roots within the jaws. They are also needed to precisely evaluate lesions like cysts, tumors, and traumatic injuries. The CBVT is necessary for the precise planning of failed or missing teeth with implants.

The use of advanced surgical planning software allows us to perform very complex reconstructive and implant procedures that can first be completed in a virtual manner using the computer prior to the surgery date. Also, the precise position of the implants can then be accurately transferred from the virtual image to the jaws, using computer constructed (CAD-CAM) guides and/or Dynamic surgical navigation. Navigated surgery permits real-time visualization and verification on the three-dimensional image while completing the procedure allowing for greater accuracy of implant placement and visualization of the surrounding anatomical structures making the planing and placement dynamic. It is like a GPS for surgery.

We are proud to be able to offer this cutting-edge technology to our patients.