Not all restorative dentists are familiar or comfortable with implant dentistry, and the perceived obstacles associated with making fixture level impressions are daunting for some restorative dentists who want to treat implant patients.
This is the main reason why more than a third of general dentists do not routinely offer implant restoration services in their own practices. Any advancement in implant restoration protocols that can simplify the restorative dentist’s role in this process has the potential to increase the number of dentists who do not currently offer implant restoration services into ones that do.
BIOMET 3i has developed a novel implant restoration technique that allows the restorative doctor to complete an implant case with just one impression, without using any additional hardware components. The Encode system is an excellent option for surgical dentists who wish to promote implant restorative dentistry to those among their referral base who are not familiar or comfortable with implant dentistry. This method allows for the fabrication of accurately fitting and suitably contoured implant abutments, without the need for restorative dentists to take implant level impressions. Encode simplifies life for restorative dentists, promotes increased referrals to implant surgeons, and lets any laboratory offer implant-retained restorations to its clients.
The proprietary technology of Encode is characterized by a unique set of configuration markers scored on the occlusal surfaces of its healing caps. Without removing the healing cap, while still using your normal crown and bridge impression procedures, these markers convey the orientation of the implant’s internal hex, its collar level, platform diameter, and angulation—all at your patient’s first visit. The soft-tissue contours surrounding the healing cap are also registered in this impression. The model produced as a result is then sent to BIOMET 3i via your laboratory for optical scanning and production of a CAD/CAM implant abutment.
The readings from this scan are entered into a computer program that assists one of BIOMET 3i’s CAD technicians in designing a patient specific abutment. This design is subsequently transferred to a milling machine for fabrication of the final abutment from a standard block of titanium alloy. This Encode abutment is then dispatched to your dental laboratory for fabrication of the definitive crown along with a mounting jig that you will use to seat the abutment. This jig is used for seating of the abutment on the implant in the mouth so that it may be precisely torqued into place.
At your patient’s second visit, the abutment is situated within the jig and the jig is then positioned on the natural teeth, adjacent to the implant. After the jig is situated, the abutment can be torqued into the implant through the jig and the crown is then inserted with your usual crown and bridge cement after verifying the adequacy of margins and contacts. It’s that easy.
Your time consumption for a single-tooth implant crown will be significantly less than the time spent on a single crown on a natural tooth, while your crown fee will be considerably higher. If you are doing multiple units at once (yes – this can readily be done with the Encode system), your time savings will increase exponentially.
This new process will convert the hesitant restorative dentist into a confident one when it comes to implants, and it will provide the surgical clinician with a wider referral base of additional generalists as they enter into this field. When all is said and done, “simplicity” is the term that describes the Encode system best.