Implant Bite Post: Genesis
The Implant Bite Post
Sure, the Implant Bite Post has helped dentists take accurate implant bite records on three continents with more clinicians and labs using it every day. We have presented the Bite Post all over America, delivered webinars and even had booths at dental meetings, so, what question do you suppose we are asked the most? Unbelievably, it has been ‘how did you do come up with that idea?’ so here is the condensed answer to how acute frustration and true desperation can lead to a technical epiphany!
Circa 1998, my laboratory was fully engaged with implant dentistry and for years suffered the pestilence of inaccurate bite records associated with implants. For sure, the fastest growing discipline in all of dentistry was missing a small, but crucial piece of traditional bite registration history that dentistry became so dependent upon. What was missing, you ask? It was, of course, the preparation. You know, that rigidly attached piece of dentate that every dentist took the bite record over…. unless they forgot. Implant case adjustments and remakes were common even though great technical strides were being made in every other area of dental implant-ology. At this point, no one had addressed the real elephant in the room. The bite record issue remained a dirty little secret that clinicians and labs talked about in private and suffered through together! Routinely, the seat appointment became an effort to grind the occlusion in, add ceramic to or remake the case as a matter of painful routine.Figure 1.
One fall day, yet another large implant case was returned to my lab for added occlusion. The dentist gave us a tissue/healing cap bite the first time, however the new bite record was now taken over our bridge, much like a bite over a row of preparations. This record may be perfect for dental occlusion, however, making a final prosthesis to accommodate a final bite record is ridiculous on its face! A quick glance at this newly mounted case left no doubt we were facing another remake. My profound frustration now turned into a total rant that had me yelling, “why don’t the implant companies devise a rigidly attached surrogate prep to improve dental occlusion for implants?”. I then grabbed another implant case and shoved some wax wire into the implant, cut the wire to the length as needed(Figure 2)and began waxing the shape and undercut I thought might work.Figures 3, 4, 5 & 6.
Absolutely this took more time to think about and wax up than it did to type these words, but conceptually, I knew this was the right track. I then presented my wax up to my two main techs and asked again, “why don’t the implant companies make something like this that just screws in, so the dentist can take a freakin’accuratebite registration?” Their immediate reply was, “why don’t you?”. Yes, I thought, why don’t I? After some months of researching the costs involved with engineers, attorneys and the intimidating FDA, I blinked, then rationalized it to my staff by saying, “this idea must be on the drawing board of 50% of the implant companies anyway.”
Figure 7: Some clinicians have found elaborate, even exotic ways to record an accurate bite for implant cases. The problem that these systems present, is time and money with extra doctor/lab communication.
Thirteen more years passed and we were still haunted by bite registrations taken over tissue and healing caps. Implant dental occlusion was a struggle for anyone willing to see. I will note that a few clients did devise methods to record accurate bite registrations, but these techniques were always complex and time consuming.Figure 7.
Figure 8: Restoring these opposing arches at the same time would be a considerable risk without using Bite Posts.
In the spring of 2011, Rob LeBeau and I were on an airplane to visit an engineer on another issue when he said to me, “you need to turn the Implant Bite Post into real drawings.” The rest is history and all of the maddening changes we made during the development stage seem like a lifetime ago.During this journey, I was told by a number of technicians that they had also made some sort of dental post to record bites and it had worked well. I believed them and feel validated by those conversations.Implant Bite Posts may not save anyone’s life, but they will likely make you better at implant dentistry!