Background: Guided implant surgery appears to have several benefits, such as the possibility of inserting flapless implants in a prosthetically driven manner, avoiding dangerous anatomical structures. However, to date, only a few surgeons routinely use guided surgery in partially edentulous patients.
Aim: To present the results obtained with tooth-supported surgical templates characterized by an innovative open design with selective support, and manufactured via a full in-office procedure with a low-cost desktop 3D printer.
Methods: Over a two-year period (2016⁻2018), all partially edentulous patients with one to three missing teeth (in maxilla and/or mandible), referred to a private dental practice for restoration with dental implants, were considered for inclusion in this prospective clinical study. An intraoral scanner (CS 3600®, Carestream Dental) and cone beam computed tomography (CS 9300®, Carestream Dental) were used to acquire the 3D information on the patients. Guided surgery software (SMOP®, Swissmeda) was used to plan the surgeries and to design open, selective, tooth-supported templates that were fabricated with a stereolithographic (SLA) desktop 3D printer (XFAB2000®, DWS). Guided implant surgeries were performed and patients were followed for a period of one year. The study outcomes were fit and stability of surgical templates, duration (time) of surgery, intra and post-operative complications, and implant stability and survival.
Results: Twenty (20) partially edentulous patients (9 males, 11 females; mean age 54.4 ± 9.4 years) were included in the study; 28 open, selective, tooth-supported templates were designed with the aim of inserting 38 implants. Among the surgical templates, 24 had optimal fit and stability, three had optimal fit and sufficient stability, and only one had inadequate fit and unsatisfactory stability and was therefore not suitable for clinical use. The average time of the intervention was 15.7 ± 5.2 min per template. No intra-operative complications were reported, but one implant was not stable at placement and had to be removed. In total, 36 implants were restored with 10 two-unit fixed partial prostheses and 16 single crowns. All implants were successfully functioning at one year, even if, in two single crowns, minor prosthetic complications (abutment screw loosening) occurred.
Conclusions: Full in-office guided surgery with open, selective, tooth-supported templates seem to represent a clinically predictable surgical procedure to restore partially edentulous patients. Further studies are needed to confirm these positive outcomes.
Keywords: complications; dental implants; guided implant surgery; survival; template fit; template stability.