Technology continues to touch every aspect of our lives. From the way we work to the way we socialize and in just about every corner of our lives, technology has created easier and more streamlined processes. In the past 10 years, technology has transformed the dental field. No place is this truer than in the advancements made in digital implants. Digital dentistry in implant fabrication provides a streamlined workflow, a better experience for patients and accuracy in product restorations.
The Benefits of Digital Impressions
The benefits of digital impressions for dental implants has been well documented. Digital impressions are faster to take than traditional impressions and once scanned, the image can be put up on a screen and evaluated for accuracy. If something is missed the area can be immediately rescanned. Of course, in traditional impression taking, problems would not be found until the impression was sent to the lab. This area has significantly improved workflow management within the dental office.
Another benefit to digital implants is the improvement seen between the ever-important dentist/lab relationship. Unlike before, the dentist and the lab can now look at scanned images and consult as to what may be the best materials to use and to address any areas that might have been overlooked by either party.
Most patients who have been digitally scanned, as opposed to those who have undergone traditional impression material, prefer digital scans. They do not have to deal with impression materials and are less likely to experience gagging. This is a plus for dentists looking to attract new patients. Not to mention it shows that the office is progressive in keeping up with technological advances.
Burbank Dental Lab was an early adopter in digital implant dentistry. Under the leadership of Tony Sedler, Burbank Dental Lab continues to provide the next generation of digital implant abutments and restorations. Whether you are just starting out with digital scanning or have been scanning for a while, there is no better source than the digital team at Burbank Dental Lab. Below are some suggestions to ensure the best digital processes possible for workflow management.
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Guided Surgery Appliances
Before the implant process begins, when determining where to place an implant, guided surgery appliances (Figure 2) are an important first step. A surgical guide will not only help with proper placement, but they also help with positioning and spacing. Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) coupled with a scan produced from an intraoral scanner, will provide all of the information necessary to create custom temporaries such as Duratemps (Figure 3), healing abutments, and a guided surgery appliance.
Tips for Digital Dental Implant Abutment Scans
The best way to keep the workflow moving smoothly is to ensure that the scan you are taking is optimized. When the file reaches Burbank Dental Lab, we want to make sure that we can work with it as soon as it arrives. Below are a few tips on ensuring your digital scan is ready for use once it is sent to us.
When you are first starting out with digital implant scanning, we encourage you to call and utilize the expertise of Burbank Dental Lab's digital technology team. They will be able to guide you through the process to ensure a smooth and predictable outcome. They will work with you with the end result in mind to ensure not only a proper scan is provided but also to help you meet turn-around times and ensure pricing options are understood.
The first thing we advise when you are starting out is that you begin with a single unit and stay away from multi-unit splinted cases. The single unit will be easier to deal with when taking your first scan and will ensure you move through the learning curve before starting with more challenging scans.
Use the 3 Scan Method for best results:
Utilizing the 3-scan method makes certain that a lab is receiving all the pieces needed to produce an outstanding case. With these three scans, we will be able to create a virtual reconstruction and proper articulation of the case.
Important Considerations: Intraoral Scan Bodies
One of the most crucial steps in the restorative process takes place when scanning abutments. As noted above, part of the 3-scan method involves the scanning of the scan body. The scan body is used to identify the precise position, height, and angle of a dental implant and relays the exact implant position to the lab. It is the digital version of a fixture level impression coping. One of the key steps in ensuring a smooth workflow when scanning implants is in understanding what type of scan body to use. The scan body that is used will dictate the pricing, restorative options, and turn-around time.
For example, scan bodies that come from major implant manufacturers will require more time to complete due to the added wait time in ordering parts. These parts are set at a high price point and in some cases will require that the case is sent directly to the manufacturer for completion. This can significantly impact workflow and cut into profitability.
However, Burbank Dental Lab also has extensive experience with third-party manufacturers such as NT-Trading, Medentika, and Elos Dental. These companies and others offer a wide variety of scan bodies that fully support most major implant platforms. In keeping with Burbank Dental Lab's commitment to only work with quality materials, these companies offer both precision and durability. The benefits include value pricing, faster turn-around, and is a great choice when considering workflow management.
Also, it is imperative that the scan body you are working with is checked regularly to ensure it is in perfect condition. Since they are reusable, they can become subject to wear and tear over time and this can affect the quality of the scan.
Custom Abutments Produced from Digital Impressions
After proper scans are provided, the final step in producing single abutment and crown or screw-retained cases is to use CAD/CAM technology to precisely design your patient's restoration to your specifications. Burbank Dental Lab uses the most advanced CAD/CAM technologies in its Smart1® (Figure 5) implant custom abutments. These custom abutments are designed with the soft tissue anatomy surrounding the implant site in mind.
Smart1® scannable abutments provide a natural emergence profile and contours as well as margin integrity that far surpass those produced by stock abutments. This is one of the main advantages of custom vs. stock abutments. Through digital design, the custom abutments provide for healthy gum tissue. The final implant restorations look like natural teeth, which is especially important when working in the aesthetic zone.
Do you have any questions? We are here to help you.
Technological advancements continue to improve and provide streamlined workflows. Digitization has improved efficiencies across the board. For clinicians, it has reduced appointment times, increased predictability, and provided for happier patients. In the laboratory, it has increased productivity, enhanced communication with clinicians, and reduced remakes.
Getting started with digital impressions can be overwhelming. Burbank Dental Lab’s digital team is one of the most advanced in the dental industry. We invite you to call us or click on the blue chat icon located along the bottom right-hand corner of this page. Our team is eager to help you with your questions or with help getting started.
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(Digital wax-ups are options as well.)