Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Time-Saving Technology in Dental Implants Part 2


By Alexander Germanis

Time is a precious commodity; time in the middle of the day is usually even more so. Couple that expenditure of one’s precious time with the discomfiture of sitting in a dentist’s chair with one’s mouth agape, and the urge to be doing something else with one’s time becomes far greater.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, like those at Doran, Capodice, Efaw, and Ocheltree, LLC, are aware of their patients’ busy schedules. That is why they are happy to see what improved technology is doing to save time, specifically in the field of dental implants.

“One of the things we’ve just incorporated in our practice is that we can take a digital impression scan of the tooth or teeth being replaced,” says Thomas Ocheltree, DMD. “Patients don’t have to have the impressions done where you fill a tray with goop and put it in their mouth and they gag; there’s none of that. That’s cut out of the deal now.”

“Digital scanning allows the patient to have the implant scanned, either immediately or at any time up until they’re getting it restored,” adds David Efaw, MD, DDS. “The accuracy is extraordinarily high. We’re creating a topographical model/map that then goes to the lab. The dentist works at the lab to get the rest of the implant restored. So, it makes it a very, very accurate way to get a tooth replaced that’s a minimal burden on the patient.”

“For patients, it’s going to be a huge benefit,” Dr. Ocheltree continues. “It’s one less afternoon they have to take off to go to the dentist.”
Jack Capodice, Jr. MD, DMD, chimes in. “At least one. One less appointment, a more comfortable impression process, and a more accurate impression process. It’s a little bit more of a time investment on our end, but it’s a huge benefit to the patients and a significant benefit to the restorative dentist also.”

New digital scanning technology can also be used for more complex cases, as well. For things like full-arch restorations on implants, this technology can be used to help in the fabrication of those appliances and to help the surgeons in the placement of them. The digital impressions, combined with CAT scan data allow the labs to make surgical guides so accurate that actual placing of the implant can be done within a few tenths of a millimeter of absolute perfection.

When talking about saving time, one of the big questions patients may have is in regard to the so-called “implants in a day” popularly advertised on television. But, as Stephen Doran, DMD, points out, “That’s a little bit exaggerated, but we do that procedure here. We put four or five implants in a jaw and put a temporary bridge on that,” he emphasizes.

“Where people get confused is they think they’re done and they can chew with that; they can’t,” he continues. “They do have teeth immediately and, aesthetically, they’re very good, but they still can’t chew with those for three or four months. That temporary appliance is later replaced with a permanent appliance that hooks on to those four or five implants. We can do that aspect all in one day like they advertise on TV.”

“Roughly 75 percent of the implants I do now are immediate implants, meaning the patient comes in, has a tooth removed, we reshape the area, and we place the implant on the same day,” concludes Dr. Efaw.

So, the treatment protocol is shortened significantly, meaning the patient is only anesthetized once, there is one extraction, and the once-typical treatment time is shortened from nine or 10 months to only four.

“Also, from a cost standpoint, it’s less expensive,” he adds. “Not only out-of-pocket cost, but also because less of a patient’s time at work or with family is lost.”

This is something the surgeons certainly understand: having more time to pursue one’s own affairs is always preferable to having a tooth pulled.

If you missed the first article in this series, you may read it online at or contact Cheryl at 309-664-2524 .To learn more about dental implants, their origin, and evolution, read future installments of “Changing the Face of Dentistry” in upcoming issues of Healthy Cells Magazine.

Drs. Doran, Capodice, Efaw, and Ocheltree provide a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery with expertise ranging from wisdom tooth removal and dental implants to bone grafting procedures, corrective jaw surgery, and cosmetic facial surgery. Their office is located at 109 Regency Dr. in Bloomington. For more information, you may call 309-663-2526 or visit them online at