Digital dentures are dental prostheses created with the help of scanners, design software and mills or printers. These digital tools can provide for more accuracy, efficiency and often more comfort for the patient.
The digital denture workflow can start in different ways: sometimes a conventional impression is still needed, sometimes a direct scan in the patient’s mouth can be done to create a digital impression for dentures, and sometimes an impression isn't needed because the clinician does a duplicate of an existing denture. The way the workflow looks depends entirely on the clinical situation and the type of denture that is created.
Intraoral scanning technology can replace the part of the workflow where patients were asked to sit with an uncomfortable impression tray in their mouth for long stretches of time. In addition, digital technology can take out some manual steps that used to be time consuming: time needed for resets due to inaccuracies in for example occlusion, vertical dimension, and/or aesthetics. If, for example, the patient’s midlines are skewed, the clinician would have to remove all teeth (as many as 28), re-wax, re-set each tooth individually, redo the wax confinement and then invest, process trim and polish.
With the advent of digital dental scanning technology, it became possible to do digital imaging for dentures in a few minutes with maximum comfort for the patient. In the design phase of the workflow, corrections that could previously take hours, are now done in ten to fifteen minutes. In addition, in the case of a digital removable prosthesis, the uniformity of the design is very beneficial. With the right software, the dental specialist can provide the clinic with cost-effective 3D printed dentures within a day, which reduces the duration of the treatment, number of visits needed, and time spent working with the patient. Challenging cases can even be tested with designs that are then digitally archived and can easily be referenced or duplicated. A 3D printed treatment is therefore a very cost-efficient solution.