by Dr James Kim, Hills Dental Care, Castle Hill, NSW
This is an extremely useful piece of equipment that we use every day in our practice. Any dentist who performs implant surgery should seriously consider getting a Piezotome.
What’s good about it
The Piezotome has many uses but it’s very efficient at extracting broken-down teeth. When a tooth is so damaged that there’s nothing to grip onto, it’s very difficult to extract that tooth without removing some jawbone. The Piezotome has a specialised tip that vibrates at certain frequencies. An irrigation unit is attached to these tips to cool them down. The tip is inserted between the bone and root surface of the tooth.
Using a gentle side-to-side motion loosens the roots and enables the extraction of the tooth without damage to the jawbone. There is also minimal trauma to the surrounding tissue and the socket heals much faster.
In most cases this means there is sufficient bone volume to put in an implant straight after the extraction. The more bone that we preserve, the greater the primary stability of these implant fixtures.
In the past it was common to wait months after an extraction before placing an implant. The Piezotome dramatically shortens the treatment time for the patient.
The Piezotome cuts into hard tissue, not soft. This also makes it useful for procedures such as sinus augmentation.
What’s not so good
The Piezotome is technique sensitive. The tip can heat up quickly and if you keep it in one spot for too long, you can cook the bone. It’s also important to ensure the correct setting so a sufficient amount of irrigation reaches the tip.