Those of us in the Dental Laboratory Technology industry know CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and we know CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing), but we may not understand the term CAE or Computer-Aided Engineering. CAE is a sophisticated set of algorithms that power CAD and CAM. Think of it as CAE being the brains to CAD/CAM’s brawn. The more CAE is integrated into the process, the less work for the technician.
So here we are, in a new world of dental technology that has been created to produce full and partial dentures. Automating the design and fabrication of a complete denture is something we really haven’t seen before. We are pushing the boundaries with dental technology and talking about complete arch forms that can be digitally laid out over the anatomical landmarks of a scanned edentulous ridge and that occlude ideally with natural opposing teeth or a full-over-full design, all while maintaining proper dental relationships.
At this time only one company has emerged as a player in the production of completely digital removable prosthetics. Using AvaDent, dental laboratories will utilize scanning technology to capture the patient’s anatomy, from a PVS or alginate impression. The doctor can insert an alginate or PVS impression, scan it, and forward that digital scan data to the laboratory.
Intra-oral impression scanning is not yet available for the production of complete dentures for two primary reasons. First, scanning in an edentulous patient is fraught with problems. The second, and biggest challenge, is that the muscle trimming and border movements that determine the denture flanges and borders cannot be registered properly in such a scan.
Also, 3D printing of a full arch denture is not an option at this time. Why? First, because the FDA has not yet approved any of the materials currently available for 3D printing for long-term use in the mouth. Second, because the photo polymer materials that are widely used today continue to develop or evolve in natural light and will not maintain the high precision necessary for a final denture.
AvaDent will always look to the future and keep innovating. We are not bound to the in- and output we use today. When there are new methods available AvaDent will apply them if it meets its high premium standards.
New record-taking techniques, sophisticated scanner hardware and software, advanced base and teeth materials, and precision-milling strategies have been created, which will completely transform the analog denture department. Traditional denture processing equipment will be replaced with today’s dental laboratory technology: computers, scanners, and mills.
These digital processes will bring benefits to the industry that include accuracy of fit and occlusion, a permanent digital record, reduced appointments, and better materials. And, as in the digital conversion of crown-and-bridge, the knowledge and experience of the dental technician will be just as necessary to verify the proper design of the final product as the CAE -driven CAD/CAM software and hardware that will be used to produce it.
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Let’s start the revolution today. Get your preferred package and start innovating you lab.
Digital dentistry results in a more efficient workflow that saves a lot of (labor) time. But you still have full control of your digital denture design. Do you want to know how?