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Dental Implant Surgical Guides and Stents: What are they and why are they used?

Dental implant surgical guides and stents are used to position dental implants (root form); to ensure that the implant is placed in the most ideal location, angulation and depth into the bone.  They are usually made out of clear acrylic and fit over your existing teeth and or pink gum tissue.

Here is a surgical guide to replace two missing teeth


A surgical guide is of utmost importance when several dental implants are being placed side by side with no natural teeth to act as a reference point. These full coverage surgical guides cover the entire area and are stabilized to prevent movement during surgery.



This picture shows a surgical guide to replace six implants, to be parallel to each other with no other natural teeth as a reference point


Here is an x-ray showing how planning and the use of a surgical guide can lead to equally spaced, parallel-ly placed implants that are all in ideal depth of bone.


Location! Location! Location! Evaluation by a prosthodontist prior to the surgery should be completed to determine the ideal location of implant placement. A prosthodontist, like Dr. Huang, will determine the ideal location taking into account the esthetics, form, and function of the final crown and bridge or denture to be placed on top of the implant root forms.   When a surgeon decides to go “rogue” and freehand place dental implants during surgery, disaster may result as seen in the picture below:

The implants are not equally spaced; the angulations are not parallel, and the depth into the bone is not ideal. This leads to a very challenging esthetic case in which not all the implants may be able to be utilized, and a financial loss for the patient. The dental surgeon never consulted a prosthodontist nor did he have a surgical guide.


It never hurts to get a second opinion! Dental implant surgery can be considered a minor surgery nowadays, nevertheless it is irreversible. Just as you would never blindly buy a home without looking at its location, you need to consider whether your dental implant is placed in the right location. Feel free to call Dr. Huang, a dual-board certified prosthodontist, for a second opinion. You will sleep better at night.