What are Digital Dentures?
Digital dentures from The Dental Lab are fabricated using CAD/CAM technology, 3-dimensional (3D) printing, and skilled denture technicians. With the help of computer-aided design, our technicians can have assistance with the beginning stages of the design process and then are able to put their creative artistry into the restoration while maintaining every functional aspect needed.
Advancements in Technology
Advancements in technology in our industry allow us to access the patient's needs and facilitate the treatment plan accordingly. Digital Photography allows us to achieve the patient's shade with ease. 2-dimensional (2D) digital radiography and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans enable dentists to accurately capture the images needed for diagnosing issues, prepping for surgery, and designing a plan along with the dental lab to achieve a successful result. Utilizing smaller tools, wands, and cameras, the results are incredible images, all to be seen on advanced display screens. What's great about this for the patient is the ease, speed, and comfort, not to mention early diagnosis of ailments that in the past took time to discover.
Unfortunately, nothing can completely eliminate errors with impression-taking or manual denture processing. As with any process, there could be a misprint or some other type of malfunction, but with our skilled and highly trained technicians in our printing department, it is rare. Additionally, CAD/CAM technology allows us to address errors in impressions or intra-oral scans and can communicate with the dentist regarding the case to rectify the issues we are seeing.
The digital process is less labor intensive for our team as many steps that are required for traditionally packed and poured dentures are no longer needed. However, we still require a CAD/CAM designer, print technician, and denture technician to complete the case. With increased manpower in our CAD/CAM department, we are able to produce more dentures in less time. All of these advancements in improving techniques, updating technology, and training and education, everyone involved benefits from the evolution of processes.
High-Quality Dentures in 3 Steps
We know the importance of chair time and patient experience and expectations. The traditional 9-step denture process requires approximately 5-6 patient visits, multiple adjustments, and 4-6 weeks to fabricate. There is a calculated way that is time-consuming to make sure everything is captured correctly in the impression. Border molding, making sure the tray is horizontal, capturing the buccal vestibule, and making sure there are no voids in the impression are key in the first step. However, at The Dental Lab, we aim to decrease the number of appointments needed to fabricate the perfect denture. Fortunately, the advancements in technology have made us more successful due to the more efficient and faster approaches utilizing our digital workflow. At The Dental Lab, we can produce quick, efficient, and high-quality dentures in only 3 steps:
How are Digital Dentures Made?
Impressions can be taken with a digital intra-oral scanner and transferred via web portal services to our dental lab. Our lab also accepts traditional impergum impressions. Once received, our digital portal specialist reviews the scans and inputs the necessary data. Depending on the accuracy of the preliminary impressions, we are able to decrease the number of appointments needed for the removable process. The digital dentures then move to the next phase of design where one of our talented CAD/CAM designers begins the process of the case.
With each denture, specifications are noted, including lip measurements, gingival tissue, marking of the midline, and occlusion types: class I, II, or III. We offer a milled digital prototype or a wax setup–both of which can be adjusted or manipulated for additional try-ins or prior to finish. If the dentist is confident, reviews our design, and approves, we can go straight to a finished denture without a try-in.
The Dental Lab digital dentures are currently printed using 3D printers by Carbon in-house. Our Carbon printers use a liquid resin that gradually deposits increments of material at a time. With this workflow, we are able to produce multiple dentures at a time. Our resin of choice is Trusana as it encompasses a large array of shades, with even more to come. The most common and traditional shades are readily available. Once the gingival bases are printed, we then cure the teeth into place.
Once the prints are completed, they go through a cleaning cycle and then to our denture finishing department where the printed teeth are bonded and cured. Next, the digital dentures go through finishing and polishing before being reviewed by quality control. The quality control team is responsible for making sure everything is functional and aesthetically correct for the patient, double-checking each detail, and comparing the case to the request written on the prescription by the doctor.
Dentists will have access to a digital file where they can review, track, or request changes to a case. Every change is recorded and saved onto the computer, meaning technicians can retrieve, duplicate, send, and store their designs with a click of a button. It is more efficient and beneficial to the patient for dentures needed in the future. When it comes time to replace the dentures, every set will be identical and consistent with one another because the storage of the CAD/CAM design allows technicians to retrieve previous files at any time.
Benefits of Digital Dentures
Save on impression materials. At The Dental Lab, the cost of digital and traditional dentures are the same. However, dentists have the ability to save on impression materials if they choose to purchase an intra-oral scanner.
Enhanced fabrication based on digital design. Designing and production are made easier and quicker with computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems that allow the technicians to visualize and alter their restorations on a computer.
Digital portal access. What's great for all parties involved is the availability of the digital file to be tracked or reprinted. If a denture is lost or broken, or if the patient even wants a daytime and a nighttime denture, we are able to easily and readily reissue the denture, and the fit and function be identical to the one they originally had.
Digital or traditional scanning is accepted. Whether using a digital intra-oral scanner or taking bite registrations traditionally, our technicians can create a digital denture as long as a bite registration is accurately recorded at the initial appointment.
Thinner, more comfortable, and better fitting appliance. With our skilled technicians and this advanced technology, we are able to offer dentists a denture that patients are sure to want. The aesthetics, fit, and function are all part of our standard procedures. The addition of CAD/CAM helps to yield a more accurate and closer fit to the original palette and mouth tissues.
Easily customizable. With all of our restorations, our CAD/CAM team is always customizing a precise custom product, as no patient's palate, teeth, or gingival are the same. Every case is individualized for the patient. Additionally, adjustments may be needed and can quickly be addressed.
How Can The Dental Lab Help?
At The Dental Lab, our goal is to quickly turn around cases as fast and accurately as possible, especially for someone who needs full sets. Every patient is important to us, and we strive to meet our turnaround time. We aim to exceed doctor and patient expectations by communicating every step of the way. With digital dentures, we are changing the way dentists view dentures. We can help patients feel comfortable smiling, all while knowing their denture fits and functions, thanks to new advanced digital technology. The Dental Lab has technical support and readily available technicians to troubleshoot. We want to help you achieve what is required to get a perfectly fitting restoration. Contact us today for questions, concerns, or to send a digital case.
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Angel Chang is a Drexel University graduate with a background in Marketing. She has experience with digital analytics, SEO, social media management, content creation, copywriting, and web development.