implant treatment planning

Dr Rahim Kanji, peripatetic implant dentist, explains how Straumann’s coDiagnostiX™ implant treatment planning and guided surgery software has revolutionised his practice.

It’s rare to find something which radically changes your clinical practice and becomes so much a part of what you do that it feels like an extra limb. I decided to leave general practice a few years ago to concentrate on implant dentistry and am now an independent peripatetic implant dentist in the north west of England. About three years ago, I started using Straumann’s coDiagnostiX™ for treatment planning, including its guided surgery capability, and it has transformed my practice.

I’ve always been interested in technology and I have to admit that I get excited about the latest gadgets, so I was intrigued by the idea of digital treatment planning software. When I first started using it, I didn’t really understand its power or usefulness. But after using it for hundreds of cases now, I can personally testify to the increase in accuracy and predictability that it brings to implant and restoration planning, especially combined with the capability to design bespoke 3D printed surgical guides for each case.

Accuracy and predictability

I use coDiagnostiX to its full potential, using its formidable diagnostic and design capabilities to retain a high degree of accuracy over the final restoration that comes back from the lab. We always send for diagnostic wax-ups as part of our investigations and our lab will create digital files (known as STL files) of the working model and the diagnostic wax-up. The coDiagnostiX software enables you to lay or stitch the restorative platform (STL wax-up) on top of the CBCT scan and plan both the implant placement and restorative phases simultaneously. Being able to plan to that degree means that the restoration created by the lab should be closely related to the initial coDiagnostiX wax-up, delivering absolute accuracy and predictability.

Such predictability also makes my life as a peripatetic implant dentist much more straightforward as it reduces the amount of stock and equipment I need to carry with me. In the 450-odd cases I have in coDiagnostiX at the moment, not one single planned case has deviated. The accuracy of the treatment planning phase means that in surgery I can rely on being able to use the implants I originally planned.

Inspiring confidence

Predictability inspires confidence. With coDiagnostiX at my fingertips, I can confidently show my patients their own individual digital workflow with a prosthetically driven treatment plan. The 3D visuals in the software are extremely effective at giving my patients a realistic idea of the complexity of the case and this helps with their understanding of the treatment steps and why the procedure is planned in that way. Patient education and communication are key to long-term success and pictures are so much easier to understand than words. Sometimes, I’ll even design the surgical guides in front of my patient; it blows them away at the same time as helping them understand why the guides are necessary. Implant treatment can be expensive, but with the help of coDiagnostiX, they can understand why and be confident that they are receiving the best treatment for them.

coDiagnostiX also makes communication with my referring restorative dentists much easier, as I can export and email them a PDF containing all the details of my treatment plan. They can then confidently plan their restoration accordingly, knowing details such as whether it will be screw-retained or in need of an angled abutment and what implant platform I am using.

Now that coDiagnostiX is second-nature to me, I have the confidence to use it for any case, no matter which practice or setup I am working with at the time. If a practice doesn’t have a CBCT scanner, I can arrange for a scan to be done at a dental imaging company, who take the scan and then upload it to the Cloud platform ready for me to download when I come to planning the case. If a practice uses conventional impressions, I can get these digitised in the lab and sent to me to import straight into the software. If I had my own practice, I would buy an intra-oral scanner, but coDiagnostiX has the flexibility to work with both analogue and digital workflows and still enable me to achieve predictable, successful results.

Practice makes perfect

I cannot deny that there is a definite learning curve that requires an investment of time and a lot of practice with the software. With such powerful and sophisticated technology, however, it is not surprising that it takes time to learn the purpose and nuances of all the functions and you will need to go through some trial and error before you have a workflow that suits you, your colleagues and your lab.

For instance, for surgical guides, designing, fitting and using them correctly are all skills that need to be learnt over time. When I first started doing guided surgery, I remember not being able to use a couple of the guides; if there have been mistakes in the impression-taking or wax-up, stitching of files, or in the treatment planning, the guides will be inaccurate and part of the skill is being able to recognise and amend those mistakes.

The old adage still holds true: practice makes perfect. But from my experience of learning to use coDiagnostiX, the rewards of learning this new technology are life-changing and I, for one, could never go back – as I said, it’s like having an extra limb.

Since graduating from the University of Manchester in 2006, Rahim has developed extensive experience in both aesthetic and restorative dentistry, whilst perusing his personal interest in dental implants. He successfully completed an MSc in Dental Implantology with distinction in 2013 and since 2007 has worked solely in private dentistry.

To find out more about Straumann’s range of digital products, visit http://straumanndigitalperformance.co.uk/ or contact Straumann on 01293 651230.

Interested in learning more – why not attend our Guided Surgery Course taking place this November, 2018 click here for details.

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