Dental implant

Dental implants are a common procedure used to replace absent teeth. Radiology has a role in pre-implant planning as well as post-implant assessment including identification of complications.

Radiographic features

Dental cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is the most common modality used in dental implant imaging.

Pre-implant imaging

Assessment of the density (i.e. quality) and alveolar height and width (i.e. quantity) of bone is key for success implant osseointegration :

  • density
    • edentulism typically leads to bone loss with resorption of the alveolar process typically affecting width before height. Mandibular bone resorption is centrifugal whereas maxillary is centripetal.
    • a number of Bone Quality Indices exist
      • Cawood and Howell
      • Lekholm and Zarb
      • Norton and Gamble
  • quantity
    • bone implant site needs to be at least 7-9 mm high and 5 mm wide
    • measurements should be taken every four sagittal oblique images through the region planned for implant
  • other features
    • contours
    • dental extractions
    • periodontal disease
    • retained dental roots
    • periapical lucencies
    • anatomical variations, e.g. mandibular or maxillary tori
    • pre-implant sinus lift or other procedure to increase maxillary alveolar ridge height and width
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