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Digital vs Conventional Full-Arch Implant Impressions


Now online in the Journal of Prosthodontics, a retrospective study co-authored by ACP members Yo-wei Chen, DDS, MS, FACP, Konstantinos Chochlidakis, DDS, MS, FACP, and Konstantinos Vazouras, DMD, DDS, MS, MPhil, FACP.

The open-tray splinted impression technique represents the current standard of care for full-arch implant rehabilitation, however full-arch digital implant scans for completely edentulous patients are gaining popularity. The purpose of this study was to compare the 3D deviations between full-arch digital scans and conventional implant impressions for edentulous maxillae and mandibles.

Twenty-seven patients (36 edentulous jaws) were treated with one-piece, screw-retained implant-supported fixed complete dental prostheses. Twenty-one jaws (21) were maxillary, and 15 were mandibular. Full-arch conventional impressions and intraoral digital scans with scan bodies and an intraoral scanner were taken during the impression phase. Following verification of the conventional stone casts, the casts were digitized. The generated STL files from both impression techniques were merged and analyzed with reverse engineering software.

The findings of this retrospective study indicate deviations between the digitized conventional stone casts (verified casts) and the virtual casts in the range of 88 μm. Regarding the effect of jaw type (maxilla versus mandible) on 3D deviations between the digital and conventional impressions, the 3D deviations were nominally higher in the edentulous mandible compared with the ones in the maxilla, but the difference was not statistically significant.

Clinical implications from the present study indicate intraoral digital scans have similar accuracy as conventional implant impressions. Hence, a complete digital workflow bypassing the conventional impression technique and the fabrication of a conventional stone cast may be feasible. Future clinical research should assess the accuracy of fit of digitally-fabricated prosthesis prototypes intraorally or in verified stone casts to clinically verify the feasibility and efficacy of the digital workflow.

Papaspyridakos P, De Souza A, Finkelman M, et al: Digital vs conventional full-arch implant impressions: A retrospective analysis of 36 edentulous jaws. J Prosthodont 2022; 1- 6. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopr.13536


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