Fundamentals to Success
The traditional process of fabricating complete dentures for fully edentulous patients is one of the more involved processes in restorative dentistry, requiring precise record taking, thoughtful occlusal analysis, and an understanding of smile design in order to arrive at a prosthesis with excellent fit, function, and esthetics. Using analog protocols, the process requires five or more patient appointments, and cases can get bogged down by the need for refinements. However, as with other aspects of dentistry, digital technologies are revolutionizing denture fabrication, facilitating modern protocols that improve both efficiency and accuracy. Intraoral scanning and CAD/CAM processes have reduced the total number of appointments necessary, streamlined the try-in/modification process, and even enabled the storage of patient data for easy remakes. For dentists who are already using digital protocols to perform crown and bridge work, producing complete dentures may seem like it's more accessible than in the past—maybe even easier.
In our September cover story, Inside Dentistry examines how traditional denture fundamentals remain the cornerstone of digital protocols. Indeed, the use of technology has made denture fabrication less laborious, but it cannot replace clinical expertise. Whether you're scanning the impressions yourself or having a laboratory assist with that aspect, the process still begins with accurate, appropriately border-molded impressions and a bite registration. As you'll read, scanning the edentulous arch is possible, but it is highly technique sensitive. Clinicians may be 3D printing their own custom trays, using the patient's existing dentures as trays, or following some other modern protocol, but the success of the final prosthesis will still be dependent on their knowledge of how to capture complete and accurate records.
Other articles in this issue explore bioceramic materials in endodontics, the use of periodontal regeneration therapy to avert the need for extraction, composite veneers for anterior wear, and more. I'm sure you'll find them to be both interesting and thought provoking. Have any insights or feedback? I love to hear from our readers. Feel free to contact me at the address below!
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Private Practice, Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa