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Scanning reference dentures: this is the optimal way

Eric Kukucka DD

Vice President

Clinical Removable Prosthetics & Design Technologies, The Aspen Group

You can scan impressions within a patient’s existing complete removable prosthesis reliably, predictably, and efficiently. While TRIOS scanners have been optimized to effectively scan these impression surfaces in a seamless, integrated manner, a designated scan strategy will render excellent scan results and a high-quality definitive prosthesis.

The reference denture technique is preferred by clinicians and technicians globally for its seamless, technically and clinically integrated workflow. This scan strategy delivers increased patient acceptance and satisfaction, reduces postoperative adjustments, and ultimately improves the patient experience as it requires fewer visits to the clinic. To understand how to obtain the best possible scans, you must designate distinct strategies for the maxilla and mandible, which will be described in detail in the scan strategy.

How to get started with scanning reference dentures

  1. Before you begin scanning, evaluate the prosthesis for its distinct characteristics, considering undercuts; the depth, height, and width of the alveolar ridges; peripheral border thickness; and overall size and shape. Go over the strategy in your mind. Visualize the win, by which I mean a perfect scan.
  2. Important: Remove any excess impression material on the facial, occlusal, and lingual aspects of the prosthesis to avoid miss-alignment of scans and inaccuracies in occlusion.
  3. Under the order form creation it is imperative that you select the removeable scanning indication. Once you have selected the removeable indication and selected the arches you wish to scan the system will prompt you and ask you “how do you wish to Scan the Lower Jaw” / “How do you wish to scan the Upper Jaw”. Since we are scanning reference denture impressions we will be selecting the impression scan.
  4. Depending on your design software, you should probably leave your scanned model open to prevent any import fails due to a so-called “watertight” model.

Quick Tip: allow time to render
After you have captured the internal alveolar ridge width and depth, allow these scans to render. When you begin to re-scan the peripheral borders, keep the 2D live image, so that at least one third of the window is positioned over the already aligned alveolar ridge scans and no more than two thirds is positioned over the new scans.

Scanning the maxilla impression

Proper strategy is required to achieve global accuracy in scanning the maxillary impression within the prosthesis due to its wide surface and anatomical features, including palate shape, undercuts, and ridge form. Fortunately, this can be handled easily.

Get the full path recommendation and step by guide on scanning the maxilla impression by downloading the full scan strategy.

Scanning the mandible impression

The goal of scanning the mandibular impression within the prosthesis is to achieve global accuracy. This goal is achiev-able, but it requires a proper strategy due to the mandibular impression’s narrow surface and anatomical features, like the retromolar pad, alveolar ridge, lingual borders, and undercuts.

Get the full path recommendation and step by guide by downloading the full scan strategy.

Scanning the occlusion

The goal in scanning the occlusion is to ensure adequate alignment of the maxillary and mandibular reference dentures in centric occlusion. This can effectively be accomplished by conducting the occlusion scan in two manners:

  1. Utilizing the bite scan feature
  2. Conducting a 360 bite scan alignment

Personally, I prefer the bite scan feature for its predictability, efficiency, and accuracy. The feature involves simply scanning the maxillary and mandibular reference dentures either intra- or extra-orally. I prefer to conduct this method by using a rigid bite registration material and capturing the patient’s repeatable unstrained centric relation record.

Get mr. Kuckuka’s tips on how to trim excessive registration material on the buccal aspect by downloading the full scan strategy.

Want to learn how to scan reference dentures from the best?

Download Mr. Kukucka’s full scan strategy immediately.


About Eric D. Kukucka DD

Eric Kukucka DD

Vice President

Clinical Removable Prosthetics & Design Technologies, The Aspen Group

Eric D. Kukucka DD is a denturist from Windsor, Ontario Canada. He is recognized as an important consultant and key opinion leader by Ivoclar Vivadent, 3Shape and Nobel Biocare, and has quickly become a respected authority and international lecturer in digital denture technology.