Digital tools have taken over the dental office, promising simpler and faster procedures. But how much have they improved efficiency? A recent study compared the time taken to fit and adjust implant-supported crowns using digital and conventional workflows.
The researchers treated 20 patients in a crossover design for single-tooth replacement in posterior sites, each with a customized titanium abutment plus CAD/CAM-zirconia superstructure (test: digital workflow; n = 20) and a standardized titanium abutment plus porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown (control: conventional pathway; n = 20).
Evaluation of the 40 reconstructions included feasibility of laboratory cross-mounting of each abutment crown connection and assessment of adaptation time for clinical adjustments of interproximal and occlusal surfaces. Statistical analyses were performed using the exact Wilcoxon rank sum tests.
Laboratory cross-mounting was feasible for 3 reconstruction pairings, revealing a 15% vice versa transfer success rate. All implant crowns could be provided successfully within 2 clinical appointments, independently of the workflow used.
The mean clinical adjustment time was significantly lower (P < 0.001) for test reconstructions for the digital workflow with 2.2 min (standard deviation [SD] +/- 2.1) compared with ones from the conventional pathway with 6.0 min (SD +/- 3.9).
The researchers concluded that the digital workflow was 3 times more efficient than the established conventional pathway for fixed implant-supported crowns. Clinical fitting could be predictably achieved with no or minor adjustments within the digital process of intraoral scanning plus CAD/CAM technology.
The study, “Clinical Fitting and Adjustment Time for Implant-Supported Crowns Comparing Digital and Conventional Workflows,” appeared in the September issue of Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research. It was written by Tim Joda, Dr MSc; Joannis Kastoulis, Dr MAS; and Urs Brägger, Prof Dr, and supported by Institut Straumann AG, Basel, Switzerland.