The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#24 - Innovations With Teeth

Implant Navigation Systems: GPS for Dentists

X-Guide Dynamic 3D Navigation System (Courtesy of X-Nav Technologies)

New dental navigation systems offer dentists what GPS provides for drivers. The benefits are substantial, particularly increased efficiency and volume. Same-day planning and surgery are now commonplace, dramatically cutting the time spent providing dental implants.


By 2022, the dental implant market in the United States and Europe is projected to reach $4.2 billion, according to The American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dental implants are expected to replace an increasing percentage of the millions of crowns and bridges used, the traditional treatment of choice for missing teeth. It’s no wonder that the dental implant navigation market, which can expedite planning and implantology, is proliferating.

Typically, dental implant navigation systems provide mobile technologies that include cameras, motion-tracking software, handpiece and jaw attachments, as well as instantaneous calculation and instrument display. When used with compatible cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) provided by separate vendors, dentists can purchase a cheaper imaging solution that also benefits patients by lowering radiation dosage. Considerable research and development of novel navigation systems is making the field increasingly competitive.

Planning and Putting the Tooth in Perfect Position

Ed Marandola, President and CEO of X-Nav Technologies, told MedicalExpo e-mag that the company’s X-Guide Dynamic 3D Navigation System allows the surgeon to “plan and put the tooth in perfect position with good aesthetics, with ten times greater accuracy than planning from models.”

X-guide implant plan with intraoral scanner (Courtesy of X-Nav Technologies)

X-guide implant plan with intraoral scanner (Courtesy of X-Nav Technologies)

Key benefits of the system include enhanced efficiency, the possibility of intraoperative changes, full-field visualization and verification of accuracy. The X Guide system is currently approved as a medical device in the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel and carries European Union CE certification.

Marandola was previously involved in a company that developed cone beam CT and considers navigation as a logical extension of this technology. Turn-by-turn guidance provides a 360-degree view during implant surgery, permitting precise visualization of the handpiece during osteotomy and more accurate implant placement. The surgeon guides implant position, angle and depth using a single view.

The camera in the cart facilitates real-time control of the drill, as well as implant placement through patient imagery. Color tracking of drill depth is also possible using X-Nav’s innovative X-Point technology (patent pending). Another important benefit is that these systems are less invasive, requiring a much smaller incision than previous implant technologies.

Training Sessions

In September, the Canadian company ClaroNav received 510(k) clearance to market its Navident Dental Navigation System in the United States. The system has been sold throughout Europe, Asia, and Canada for at least 18 months.

Jason Pardo, Global Vice President of ClaroNav’s Sales and Marketing Division, said that Navident was developed in close collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry. Essential components of the navigation system include a small notebook computer, the Drill Tag handpiece attachment and a customizable patient jaw attachment, called JawTag. There is also an optical position sensor that detects the patterns printed on the Drill Tag and Jaw Tag, as well as micron tracker software.

Dentist using Navident (Courtesy of Claronav)

Dentist using Navident (Courtesy of Claronav)

Dental surgeons use the Navident CBCT image to plan where implants should be placed, and software permits tracking the drill and the patient’s jaw. According to Pardo, Navident clinical use studies show an average implant placement accuracy of about 1.0 mm at the entry point and apex of the implant.

In Europe and Canada, ClaroNav has used a network of Master Clinical Trainers to conduct ongoing training sessions. Purchasers of the navigation system can attend sessions at the home office in Toronto, but ClaroNav also sends training staff to dental offices.

Here is a video of the Navident system:

About the Author

Laura Newman is a New York-based medical writer that writes frequently about medical technological advances and health policy. She writes for the medical trade press, national health entities, and health care insurers.

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