Preoperative radiographic assessment is mandatory for the meticulous treatment planning and successful placement of implants. The precise topographical evaluation of selected implant sites, apart from the most straightforward cases, requires tomographic examination with the use of diagnostic radiographic templates. The incorporation of various radiopaque materials such as barium sulphate and lead foil as radiographic markers had not been entirely satisfactory. A new contrast medium, Lipiodol ethiodized oil (Laboratoire Guerbet, Paris, France), can easily be mixed with the monomer of autopolymerizing acrylic resin. The resultant acrylic template has several advantages. The tomographic images (Scanora; Soredex Orion Corporation, Helsinki, Finland) are radiographically homogenous and show the contour of the future prosthesis, the angulation of the planned implant, and the thickness of the soft tissue. In addition, the radiopaque template is optically transparent (with a slight yellow tint), which facilitates good visibility of surgical sites when the template is modified to become the surgical guide for implant placement. This transparent template can be further modified for implant position registration at the time of surgery. Because this multipurpose template is simple to construct and inexpensive, it can be recommended for routine use in implant dentistry.
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