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In mid-June 2017 I attended an interesting Symposium in Barcelona where several European and American colleagues took us through the latest breakthroughs in dental aesthetics achieved with implants in the front smile area.

The idea is to obtain natural teeth in cases requiring the extraction of a tooth and its replacement using an implant with its corresponding ceramic crown. The speakers stressed that the gum and the underlying bone must be of the correct height and volume required to ensure that the implant does not clash with the patient’s surrounding teeth. This is enormously important if the tooth to be removed has caused surrounding bone loss either due to a strong infection or to some kind of a knock.

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We saw the latest advances in planning cases on the computer using a 3D scanner. This helps us to plan where the implants will go, both in regard to the position of the bone and to the smile. There are already systems on the market which film the operation and guide the professional when going about implant surgery. These are known as Navigational Implant Placement systems.

They require good prior diagnosis and planning. In these cases the dentist’s experience remains important, since tact and prior knowledge of implant surgery is necessary, particularly in the event of variations occurring to the pre-established surgery plan during the operation.

We were shown cases where the smile was repositioned in the face by means of surgery on the upper and lower jawbones. And cases of vertical or horizontal increase of the osseous crest in order to be able to fit implants to mouths that had suffered bone loss.

They also looked at aesthetic repair using ceramic crowns or veneers and the planning of full-mouth rehabilitation using CAD/CAM restoration on natural teeth or implants.