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Digital Dentures

Course Number: 662


Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM) /Digital complete dentures are now considered to be a great alternative to conventional complete dentures.1 The technology has undergone several improvements in the last decade leading to an exponential increase in the number of providers and systems available in the market today. CAD-CAM complete dentures can utilize materials with improved properties compared to conventional dentures. Several studies have reported very high levels of patient satisfaction with CAD-CAM dentures. CAD-CAM dentures can be fabricated in a fewer number of appointments and have a superior fit. Hence, they are extremely beneficial in nursing home patients and medically compromised patients who are not able to make multiple visits to the practitioners.1 The digital data acquired through the process can be used for the rapid future fabrication of spare or replacement dentures when needed.1

Digital dentures (milled or printed) may be fabricated using a fully digital protocol (intraoral scanning of hard and soft tissues) or a combination of conventional and digital fabrication techniques (conventional impressions, maxillo-mandibular records, and digital designing and fabrication of the prosthesis). Currently, the majority of clinical studies utilize a combination of conventional impressions and maxillomandibular relationship procedures with digital processing and fabrication techniques for digital denture fabrication.1 The armamentarium required for the registration of various records, the software, and the training needed prior to using a system varies from one system to another. Initially, it was imperative to buy the trays, materials, and equipment compatible with that system as well as fabricate the prostheses through the specific manufacturer (closed system). However, with the continuous advancements in this field, several open digital systems have emerged. These systems permit the practitioner to use their trays/instruments for impressions and records and send them to the manufacturer/laboratory for scanning, designing, and fabrication of digital prostheses. They also permit in-house fabrication of the prostheses when the armamentarium is available in the clinical setting. The open systems provide great flexibility and also help reduce the overall treatment cost.