Dental implant reconstruction, including craniofacial reconstruction, is an evolving art and science: an art, because there is still no absolute prescription for any given situation; a science, because after placement of millions of dental implants worldwide, scientific knowledge is still expanding exponentially.
To contemplate repair of a defect is to seek enlightenment from master clinicians experienced in settings as disparate as gingival esthetics and cancer reconstruction. But there is still controversy as to which therapy to use in any given situation. Optimally, tissue engineering will enable regeneration of all regional tissues, obtaining form and function not based on prosthetic elements. At present though, the titanium bone screw, in use these past four decades, remains the mainstay of most all oral and craniofacial reconstructive efforts, and therefore, a foundation for restorative dentistry.
This issue of Dental Clinics of North America discusses current thinking of the most challenging settings for the reconstructive surgeon and therefore the restorative dentist, from the single missing tooth in the esthetic zone to complete loss of craniofacial structure. Hopefully, this review will update the restorative dentist to enable better understanding of the broad range of methods that have lately become “standardized,” including the fibula flap, BMP-2 repair, all on four immediate function, and computer guidance.