3 IMPORTANT FACTORS WHEN SELECTING QUALITY IMPLANT COMPONENTS.
Almost all dental laboratories now support dental implants as part of their core services for their dentists. These implants utilize a number of different materials and techniques specific to individual need.
1. FDA CLEARANCE
The safety and efficacy of dental implants is regulated by the FDA. These regulations play a necessary role as the implants are considered a Class II medical device. The FDA 510(k) is the stamp of approval that lets a small laboratory know the products that they are browsing for purchase have passed the intense process of FDA approval. This ensures that even after-market manufacturers are producing products as effective or more effective than the original products.
The hesitancy of dental laboratories to use after-market manufacturers is gradually shifting as laboratories understand that these FDA 510(k) cleared dental implant components are safe and effective. Using after-market manufacturers benefits dental laboratories through lower costs, which in turn benefit the provider itself and then that cost savings is able to be passed along to the dentist.
When choosing a supplier, it is important to choose one that offers a wide range of platforms so you have the ability to support all of your dentists without having to worry that the components are not available. This flexibility creates simplicity in the billing process and allows for an increasingly stream-lined workflow.
ANALYZING EACH COMPONENT
Titanium bases are essentially a stock abutment that has been designed to mesh with custom milled prosthetics that can be bonded to them to complete the restoration. They are usually made up of a titanium alloy and are precision-milled to fit specific implants. When assessing titanium bases, consider the following.
- Can the height of the Ti-base be adjusted?
- Is the Ti-base FDA compliant?
- Does the screw match the manufacturer’s design?
- Does the Ti-base have a large glue surface for a durable solid connection? What material is the screw itself made of? Titanium is considered the best medium material.
Custom abutments allow restorative dentists to create subgingival contours that more accurately match that of a natural tooth with greater control of the position of the margin than with a stock abutment. When assessing custom abutments, consider the following.
- What material is the custom abutment made from?
- Is the custom abutment FDA cleared?
- Does your custom abutment supplier offer all of the leading implant platforms and interfaces?
Analogs are the foundation of a quality restoration. A case is only as good as the model work that it is made from. When assessing analogs, you might consider these questions:
- Does the analog have a good undercut pattern to engage/stabilize within the cast?
- What material is the analog made of?
- Is positional adjustment possible?
- Is the analog compatible with the leading implant systems?
- Is the analog reusable?
- Which workflow is the analog designed for; traditional, digital or both?
Scan bodies or scan flags allow technicians to bring the implant position into their digital workflow. They are used in conjunction with intraoral scanners or are used on working models via a desktop scanner with traditional impression models. Accuracy within your digital workflow is extremely important. As such, sourcing and selecting your scan bodies can be difficult. Consider the following when assessing a new product or source.
- Is the scan body rotatable in case of dental crowding?
- Is the scan body x-ray detectable?
- Can the scan body be used for model and oral scanning?
- If used in an intraoral workflow, can the scan body be properly sterilized?
- What material is the scan body made from? A titanium base provides increased durability and precision.
Prices vary widely, and laboratories will have to make a choice as to which products best suit the needs of their clients whether it is higher cost materials with more durability, or lower cost materials that make dental implants more readily affordable for dentists.
Based on the needs of their dental practices, laboratories will have to ensure that the appropriate type and style of implant components are kept in stock and available at all times. Quality materials are now an option for even the most price conscientious consumer. Laboratories can build trust through providing readily available options of quality implant components that are demonstrated safe and effective through FDA approvals as part of their core services.