Development of a radiographic dental implant guide for identification of dental implant types
Keywords:dental implants, radiographic dental implant guide, implant types
INTRODUCTION: Identification of dental implant types can be a complex process for inexperienced health care professionals. Dental implants can have subtle differences in their morphology, which make it difficult to distinguish them from one another The unique appearance of dental anatomy and the placement of custom restorations ensure accurate identification of bodies or human remains when radiographic techniques are correctly applied. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To develop a radiographic dental implant guide for ten common dental implant types currently used in the Western Cape, South Africa; using their morphological characteristics observed on pantomographs. DESIGN: The methodology considered for this research study was a positivist approach through a quantitative, exploratory, non-experimental research design. METHODS: Ten commonly used dental implants were radiographed at straight tube (ST), off-centre (OC) and severe off-centre (SOC) angles to create a reference instrument Two reviewers used the morphologies of the different dental implant types, namely the apex, thread and neck, observed on ante-mortem pantomographs, and compared it to the appearance of the dental implants in the reference instrument to make a positive identification match. The straight tube image of all ten dental implant types in the reference instrument was used as the initial point of reference to positively identify the morphological characteristics of each dental implant type on the pantomographs. RESULTS: A total of 380 dental implants could be identified on 105 pantomographs reviewed. Of the 380 dental implants, 350 dental implants (91%) were identified as dental implant types listed in the reference instrument while 30 dental implants were identified as another type of dental implant type not listed in the reference instrument A total of 208 dental implants (54.2%) could be positively identified on the ante-mortem pantomographs using the straight tube images in the reference instrument. The morphological characteristics of the dental implant types were described using x-ray imaging of dental implants. The ten commonly used dental implants types could be positively identified by two independent reviewers and based on this a radiographic dental implant guide was developed. CONCLUSION: Each dental implant type had unique morphological characteristics as well as similarities which enabled distinction between the different dental implant types. The dental implant guide developed could be used by dentistry and radiography students. The dental implant guide may be useful in the field of forensic dentistry and forensic radiology.
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