Implant position is a key determinant of esthetic and functional success. Achieving the goal of ideal implant position may be affected by case selection, prosthodontically driven treatment planning, site preparation, surgeon's experience and use of a surgical guide. The combined effect of surgical guide design, surgeon's experience, and size of the edentulous area on the accuracy of implant placement was evaluated in a simulated clinical setting. Twenty-one volunteers were recruited to participate in the study. They were divided evenly into 3 groups (novice, intermediate, and experienced). Each surgeon placed implants in single and double sites using 4 different surgical guide designs (no guide, tube, channel, and guided) and written instructions describing the ideal implant positions. A definitive typodont was constructed that had 3 implants in prosthetically determined ideal positions of single and double sites. The position and angulation of implants placed by the surgeons in the duplicate typodonts was measured using a computerized coordinate measuring machine and compared to the definitive typodont. The mean absolute positional error for all guides was 0.273, 0.340, 0.197 mm in mesial-distal, buccal-lingual, vertical positions, respectively, with an overall range of 0.00 to 1.81 mm. The mean absolute angle error for all guides was 1.61° and 2.39° in the mesial-distal and buccal-lingual angulations, respectively, with an overall range of 0.01° to 9.7°. Surgical guide design had a statistically significant effect on the accuracy of implant placement regardless of the surgeon's experience level. Experienced surgeons had significantly less error in buccal-lingual angulation. The size of the edentulous sites was found to affect both implant angle and position significantly. The magnitude of error in position and angulation caused by surgical guide design, surgeon's experience, and site size reported in this study are possibly not large enough to be clinically significant; however, it is likely that errors would be magnified in clinical practice. Future research is recommended to evaluate the effect of surgical guide design in vivo on implant angulation and position error.
- Implant placement
- Surgical guide