Providing patients with fixed and/or removable dentures can often be challenging, time-consuming, and problematic. Multiple appointments are typically required, and a variety of records gathering and processing techniques may be required. For example, typical denture treatment planning eats up valuable chair time; requires coordination and communication among dentists, team members, the patient, and the laboratory; and is usually labor-intensive for all professionals involved. What’s more, dentures are prone to a variety of inaccuracies as a result of records-gathering and fabrication processes.
Traditional denture fabrication typically involves multiple appointments—including those for try-in—and a variety of customized components from the laboratory. Highly prone to errors, traditional methods have also failed to achieve consistent and predictable results.
For example, inaccurate records of a patient’s vertical dimension, bite registration, and/or centric relation are among the reasons for inconsistency and disappointments. Traditional base plates and occlusal rims prevent proper evaluation of phonetics, retention, fit, and stability. Additionally, when patients are edentulous, they lack the receptors responsible for initiating proper lower jaw positioning. From a materials standpoint, traditional denture fabrication involves hand measuring and mixing, and denture resins often undergo dimensional changes when polymerized that may not be anticipated.
Overall, the combination of inaccurate records and material inconsistencies lead to patient dissatisfaction and subsequent adjustments and remakes. This translates to more chair time, additional material and resource expenses, and no increased revenue for the practice.
Fortunately, technological and material advancements enable dentists and their DSG laboratory to increase efficiency and revenue when treating denture patients. From digital impression scanners to enhanced denture processing materials and techniques, several advancements are enabling dentists to treatment plan and deliver dentures in a systematic, efficient, and comfortable manner compared to traditional methods. When dentures are digitally treatment planned and processed, dentists can streamline the required clinical protocol, reduce necessary chair time, and deliver predictably esthetic and functional prostheses that are profitable to the practice.
In particular, digital impression scanners and CAD/CAM design components are now being used to record every aspect of a patient’s condition, as well as design and execute the removable and/or fixed denture treatment plan. The information required to design and fabricate a patient’s dentures can be recorded digitally in a single appointment, stored electronically, and available for future use if an extra or replacement denture is needed. Additionally, if implants are required to stabilize the dentures, digital CAD/CAM design and processing can be incorporated to create precision surgical guides for accurate implant placement and streamline the design and fabrication of temporary, try-in, and definitive prostheses.
Incidentally, digitally fabricated dentures from DSG that are created using CAD techniques and 3D printing eliminate the problems associated with traditional dentures, such as a porous composition prone to staining and odor, unaesthetic tooth shape or arrangement, poor fit, and improper occlusal scheme. In fact, digital processes and 3D printing also eliminate the challenges associated with polymerization shrinkage for greater durability, function, and accuracy. Digital dentures are not prone to processing errors, so they seat comfortably, with minimal-to-no tissue impingements or sore spots.
What’s more, DSG can set the denture teeth digitally, adjust the occlusion as needed, and enable the dentist, team, and patient to virtually preview the proposed prosthesis to ensure ideal esthetics and occlusion prior to fabrication. As a result, the workflows necessary for developing treatment plans, creating virtual wax-ups, and 3D printing at the DSG laboratory become more accurate, predictable, and efficient, in addition to more convenient for patients.
Overall, unlike traditional dentures, digital dentures minimize patient visits, prevent the need for extensive laboratory customization, and eliminate remakes. By reducing chairtime and enhancing accuracy, digital denture processes enable dentists to provide patients with predictable dentures while increasing revenue and patient satisfaction.