Dental implants are not a modern idea. In fact, archeological evidence suggests that people have been trying to create and use dental implants for over 3,000 years. Our ancestors used everything from animal bone to iron in an effort to fix missing teeth both for this world and the next. It’s unknown whether these implants were inserted pre or post mortem, but it is clear that these crude procedures would have been incredibly painful and in most cases would have led to unbearable infections. Fortunately for us, dental implants have come a long way and the procedure is now relatively painless and permanent. In 1965, innovating orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Branemark placed the first titanium dental implant into a live human volunteer. Since this point, the procedure has developed into what is most commonly used today— an implant composed of a titanium screw with a custom fabricated tooth cap.
New Technologies and Innovations
The legacy of Banemark’s method has served it’s purpose for well over 50 years, but new technologies, led by the innovative research and development efforts at Preferred Dental Technologies Inc. (CSE: PDTI) are now coming to market. These new systems and technologies will completely disrupt and revolutionize the dental implant industry.
PDTI has been working on the development and use of two new technologies in particular—EAS and digital dentistry—that will completely transform the quality of dental implants, revolutionize accessibility and create an ease in manufacturing never before seen.
Evolutionary Accessories Series
Dental implant technology has changed very little since Branemark’s first human implant in 1965. While there have been tweaks and innovations along the way, the same significant problems continued to plague implant technicians and recipients alike. Inadaptable systems have made nuanced adjustments impossible, retrieval difficult and have restricted optimal design. PDTI researchers and developers had been searching for solutions to these everyday problems until several critical breakthroughs occurred that led to the development of the Evolutionary Abutment Series. Developed by Ernst Siegmund, R.D.T. a European trained dental technician with over 40 years of experience in the field, the EAS system solves many of the trickiest problems with the manufacturing process and installation of dental implants. His prototype succeeded in creating a product that provides solutions to the most difficult issues associated with dental implants.
Until now, the components needed for dental implants have been primarily produced in precious metals, and require the work of skilled technicians who hand craft unique implants for specific patients. PDTI’s innovative technology with the EAS system disrupts this entire process. EAS is a unique 4-part solution for dental implant mounting systems and has been successfully replicated in multiple materials. The product can be easily implemented in place of traditional manufacturing and because EAS is a mounting system not specific to one product, it works well with any prosthetic dental structure, from a bridge to a single tooth replacement.
There are four major issues associated with dental implants, all of which are solved by EAS.
1.) Angulation Problems: Standard dental implants have a rigid angle that unchangeable. Traditional mounting systems do not support adjustments or changes to the implant without requiring significant investments of time and effort recreating the case. The EAS allows for easy and fast adjustments to the implant without re-manufacturing at considerable savings to the technician.
2.) Retrieval: The EAS, which can be easily manufactured in-house, allows for the easy retrieval of parts for cleaning and inspection. Traditional products have much more extensive and invasive requirements for retrieval. This allows for easy lifetime care and maintenance greatly improving patient safety and satisfaction.
3.) Loose Screws: The EAS eliminates the problem of loose screws with it’s patented universal fit, domed mounting base and reverse threaded screws. This dome acts as a cap, preventing the loosening of the screw beneath which in standard implants is a leading cause of failure.
4.) Design Flexibility: The EAS creates anatomically, hygienically and functionally correct restorations in materials of all types. Because EAS is built to be more flexible than traditional systems, it allows for a more nuanced fitting and shaping of replacements. This gives dental professionals far greater freedom in designing superior quality cases that look and feel better for the patient.
Current dental implant systems are limiting for several reasons. In terms of treatment, the systems themselves are rigidly fixed upon fabrication and give little room for adjustments in real time, which causes discomfort and poor fit that ultimately lead to problems down the road. There are also milled implant systems, but these require complicated off-site fabrication techniques that are costly in terms of labor, time and correspondence. EAS technology offers both a narrow and wide platform and provides unsurpassed simplicity in inventory control, substantially reducing the capital required for inventory. Overall, EAS provides an intelligent technology system to make the implant process easier to navigate—and with better results. Not only does it provide practitioners and patients with a better overall product, it also substantially reduces cost and complications in manufacturing.
3D Printing in the Dental Industry
Not unlike the sort of thing you might see in a sci-fi movie, 3D printing technology is offering unprecedented possibilities in every area of manufacturing. The dental industry is no exception and 3D printing opens up completely new possibilities in the world of dental implants. As a leader in the research and development of this technology within the dental industry, PDTI has been excited and encouraged with the results of initial prototyping in 3D printing for implants and accessories. PDTI recognized early on that 3D printing can use the same platform as milling custom dental abutments, but with the flexibility of accessible, upgraded technology. Initial prototypes have been printed with high precision plastics, wax and metal.
3D printing lowers costs and increases production capability
3D printing technology not only saves a significant amount of time in the manufacture of abutments and accessories, but also shows potential for greatly decreasing the production cost of custom abutments. In one test run of prototypes, twelve custom angled abutments were created in a total of twenty- seven minutes. Compare that to the typical 45-minute to 1-hour period needed for milling a single abutment using traditional methodology and tools and you begin to see the direct cost and time savings that 3D printing provides.
As 3D printing technology becomes more accessible, affordable custom abutments can now be prototyped and manufactured in house with minimal capital or start up cost. This not only has great implications for providers, but patients too, who should benefit from the superior fabrication and lower overall cost of 3D printed implants and accessories.
While medical advancements often take years to implement, these technologies have the potential to greatly increase the productivity and quality of existing treatments immediately. By understanding and implementing technology where it is most useful, both practitioners and patients stand to benefit greatly. Both EAS and 3D printing are PDTI crafted innovations that stand to change the field of dental implants permanently.
To learn more about Preferred Dental Implant Technologies Inc. (CSE:PDTI) please visit the website at www.prefdent.com