Conventional Complete Dentures
Complete dentures (Figures 1, 2) aid in maintaining phonetics, aesthetics, and occlusal support in edentulous patients.2 However, there are several limitations associated with conventional complete dentures. The fabrication process involves several clinical appointments (a minimum of 5-6 for fabrication and more for adjustments) thereby resulting in high treatment costs.1,3 It also involves complex laboratory procedures that require substantial human intervention and extensive material manipulation thereby affecting the turnaround time, accuracy, and expenses.3,4 If the patient were to lose his/her denture it is impossible to quickly fabricate the same prostheses, as the entire process needs to be repeated.
There are also several reported disadvantages associated with conventionally processed polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) materials including increased polymerization shrinkage, susceptibility to microbial adhesion, radiolucency (lack of radio-opacity), allergic potential, and degradation of the mechanical properties of the material over time.5
Figure 1. Conventional Complete Dentures
Images Courtesy of Dr. Goodacre
Figure 2. Digital Complete Dentures - designed and fabricated using CAD-CAM technology.