Digital Denture Workflows: Taking Digital Impressions

mm Written by Andrew Sedler

Edentulism

The condition of complete edentulism can have a negative impact on a person’s well-being. This condition leads to poor quality of life, health complications including comorbidities like obesity and malnutrition, as well as social and personal relationships. For completely and partially edentulous patients, digital dentistry and dental implants have revolutionized treatment, but not everyone is qualified or able to afford implants. In order to effectively treat complete edentulism in a cost-effective and efficient manner, particularly for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with limited access to healthcare, cost-effective and efficient techniques must be developed.

Digital dentures can be designed and manufactured to precise specifications by 3D manufacturing equipment using CAD/CAM (computer-aided-design/computer-aided manufacturing) technology. The advantages of digital dentures over traditional dentures include reduced processing time and elimination of errors associated with physical impressions and manual procedures.

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Digital Denture Workflow

Ivoclar Digital Dentures System - Digital Denture Workflow

The key to ensuring a positive outcome begins with following a digital denture workflow and taking accurate digital impressions. The focus is to manufacture a denture that has a high level of precision. The more surface area that a denture covers on the tissue, the better adhesion and cohesion are present. This will create good retention and create a denture that will stay in the mouth.

Full-Arch Workflow with iMetric 4D

Reference Denture

There are many different approaches to creating digital dentures. Ensuring case success is dependent on proper case selection. One great advantage to these types of cases is if the patient has a pre-existing denture. In these cases, the patient is looking to improve a current denture. This denture is referred to as the reference denture.

Digital Denture Workflow - Burbank Dental Lab

The first step is to scan both the maxillary and mandibular dentures. To do this, start off by scanning the occlusal surface of the denture. Next, move on to scan the vestibular surface and then the palatal area.

Intraoral Scanner

The last step is to scan the denture intaglio. If this is a fully edentulous patient, do the same scans for the opposing denture. If only one arch is being restored, then scan the opposing arch.

This scan should include the occlusal, lingual, and buccal surfaces. Place the denture in the mouth and take a bite scan.

To ensure accuracy, make sure the patient is sitting in an upright position when taking the bite scan.

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Digital Impressions

Next, the patient is scanned. Scanning of the edentulous tissues does require practice.

Digital Impressions

To do these scans, begin by scanning the attached gingiva first at the height of the alveolar ridge. It is best to use a back-and-forth motion when going over the ridge. Next, scan the palate and vestibules and then into the floor of the mouth. It is necessary for all tissue extensions to be scanned. The area between the hard and soft palate, as well as at a depth of the buccal sulcus, must be scanned.

Some find it hard to scan the tissue. For this, it is best to take a ‘re-line’ impression and then to scan the intaglio surface and skip scanning the tissue. This will ensure a more intimate and truer fit.

The information captured in these scans is then uploaded to Burbank Dental Lab. Here the dental lab will use the data to create a virtual mounted case using design software. The edentulous scans will be matched up with the previous reference denture scan. The new denture requirements are incorporated into the new design.

Monolithic Denture Try-In

After the case is designed in the software, Burbank Dental Lab will create a monolithic denture that will be used for a patient’s try-in. 

Ivoclar Digital Dentures System - Digital Denture Workflow

This will be a prototype and is usually printed in the color selection that was requested by the doctor and patient. The new denture is placed in the patient’s mouth and evaluated, taking into consideration both esthetics and function.

Note: It is advisable to take photos to visually communicate the try-in stage with the dental lab.

A horizontal can be taken at this time. All of the issues that may have been uncovered during the try-in are noted. The patient can wear this monolithic try-in home and report back any issues or changes they might like. Adjustments can also be made directly to the prototype, and these changes can also be scanned and used in the manufacturing of the final denture.

First Denture

The final prosthesis is ready to be manufactured. The information from the try-in is incorporated into the final denture. Digital denture tools and solutions are used to cleanse and trim the component pieces after printing. The technician then joins the denture teeth with their respective base plates by hand. Final curing and polishing complete the workflow.

Digital Denture Workflows

Benefits of the Digital Denture Process

Dentures made using the new technology offer several advantages over those made using traditional methods. As a result, digital dentures offer a more comfortable and snug fit than traditional dentures.

Furthermore, digital 3D printed and milled dentures are much more durable and less likely to break or chip than traditional dentures. This provides denture wearers with a better long-term solution.

The benefits of doing digital impressions in denture cases include the following:

  • The digital process provides a more precise fit.
  • Adhesion and cohesion of the denture are improved, making them less likely to slip out of the mouth. 
  • There are fewer necessary appointments and less chair time.
  • A digital file can be saved for the patient.
  • The need for adjustments is greatly reduced.
  • Patients report having an overall better experience.
  • A replacement denture can easily be made.

By utilizing digital denture technology, denture fabrication and design have become simpler and more efficient. The prostheses are better adapted with better material properties. As the population continues to age, cost-effective dental solutions are necessary.

Digital impression methods not only save chair time and reduce costs throughout the workflow, but the final prosthesis is superior. Call or chat with a Burbank Dental Lab team member today to discuss your next digital denture case.

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of the future
is here!

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