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Inside Dentistry
June 2023
Volume 19, Issue 6

A Simpler Way to Transition to Fixed Protheses

Zest Dental Solutions’ LOCATOR FIXED® system offers versatility, efficiency, cost savings, and more

Luigi Massa, DDS

Luigi Massa, DDS, developed his passion for implant dentistry while working as a certified dental technician throughout his undergraduate and postgraduate education. During dental school, Massa owned a laboratory that worked on dental implant cases, including fabricating custom abutments and temporary crowns on the day of surgery. "I definitely had an interest in implant dentistry from that point on," he says.

Upon graduation from dental school, Massa earned an award from the Academy of Osseointegration (AO) that included a 1-year membership and the ability to attend the organization's annual session for free. "Attending my first AO meeting really blew the doors open for me regarding what was possible with dental implants," he says.

Now, working at a comprehensive group practice, Massa handles everything from single-unit implant restorations to full-arch reconstructions. He notes that his background as a technician helps tremendously. "From a restorative standpoint, being familiar with all of the materials and how they are processed is very advantageous," he says. "From an implant standpoint, I can better understand the limitations of what is possible. Knowing how the laboratory manufactures things provides you with a different perspective on your cases."

Massa is always seeking ways to improve his patients' treatment options, and one product that helps him accomplish that is LOCATOR FIXED® from Zest Dental Solutions. With LOCATOR FIXED, existing LOCATOR® Removable Attachment System patients can be upgraded to a fixed solution by simply changing the inserts and housings and modifying the overdenture into a supported prosthesis. Patients can make the transition easily without changing abutments because the LOCATOR FIXED system utilizes the same abutments and workflow as the LOCATOR Removable Attachment System. "What makes LOCATOR FIXED unique and special is that it really simplifies the process of transitioning to a fixed prosthesis," Massa says. "The traditional workflow that is used to arrive at a fixed set of teeth is much more complex. LOCATOR FIXED is the only fixed attachment system on the market that I am aware of. Because it uses the LOCATOR workflow, it is something that many dentists already understand, and implementing it is easy."

Another benefit of the LOCATOR FIXED solution is that it requires less bone reduction due to its shorter stack-up heights when compared with screw-retained fixed systems. "Fixed cases often require so much bone reduction, which is not ideal for dentists who are trying to be conservative in their dentistry," Massa says. "Maintaining bone is ideal because we should always be thinking about what is next for the patient. What happens in 10, 15, or 20 years? If we reduce the bone, it is very difficult to regenerate. By using a system that minimizes bone reduction, we are left with more available bone that could prove useful in the future." Massa also appreciates the versatility of materials that can be used with the LOCATOR FIXED system. "I can choose from a wide range of options, from zirconia or other ceramics to polymers and ceromers," he says.

According to Massa, the workflow also offers benefits in terms of time and cost savings. With the LOCATOR FIXED system, the final bridge is processed in the mouth. "It is still a very precise prosthesis, but the precision does not need to be at the same level as it does with traditional screw-retained, fixed prostheses," he says. "Instead of screwing the prosthesis in with very precise tolerances, you are inserting attachments in the patient's mouth. Because of this, the laboratory can make the same bridge at a fraction of the cost, so patients can oftentimes have a fixed restoration for thousands of dollars less." Massa adds that fitting the prosthesis in the mouth can save hours of chair time for the dentist as well and that additional chair time can be saved when performing maintenance work. "A typical screw-retained prosthesis takes a long time to remove at each visit," he says. "The LOCATOR FIXED system includes a tool that you simply wrap around the bridge and click, and the bridge pops off. A removal and reinstallation process that could otherwise take up to an hour now takes approximately 5 minutes."

Patients appreciate that and more. Treatments become less intimidating and cumbersome, and case acceptance rates can be increased for those patients who do not want a traditional denture but also cannot afford a screw-retained fixed solution. "For patients who are in maxillary and mandibular overdentures, all we need to do is place a couple of additional implants to get the proper orientation and then make a new appliance," Massa says. "Patients like that are thrilled that the transition is so easy."

Of course, all of these benefits are preceded by Zest Dental Solutions' industry-leading reputation as a trusted brand for overdenture restorations. Massa has been working with Zest for nearly 2 decades, including using the LOCATOR system on his own father. "My father had partial dentures, so I helped him transition to overdentures by removing the remainder of his teeth," Massa says. "We placed implants and utilized LOCATOR attachments, and he has been in overdentures for 13 or 14 years. I have always understood Zest Dental Solutions' LOCATOR systems to be the gold standard, and I have had a great relationship with the company over the years. Products like the LOCATOR FIXED system help me practice implant dentistry at the level that I always aspired to."

Key Points

Easily upgrade existing LOCATOR Removable Attachment System patients to LOCATOR FIXED by simply changing the inserts and housings and modifying the overdenture into a supported prosthesis.

Patients can easily transition from removable overdentures to a fixed solution without changing abutments.

There is less need for bone reduction due to the shorter stack-up height when compared with screw-retained fixed systems.


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