Dental technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last decade, turning dental implants into dentists’ restorative procedure of choice for missing teeth or teeth that need to be extracted. Patients are thrilled that a growing number of dentists have added intraoral scanners to their practices for the easiest, least-invasive and most accurate impressions of the teeth and mouth. Dentists with these scanners are gladly reaping cost and time savings, convenience, and efficiency. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Our lab technicians at Premier Dental Arts understand the many reasons dentists should familiarize themselves with the full potential of the technology they hold in their hands — specifically, intraoral scan bodies. Appropriate principles and techniques are particularly important when scanning sites for dental implants. The angulation and orientation of the prosthetic connection must be captured with accuracy and precision. Today, let’s look at simple digital impression methods that will ensure the most accurate implant restoration possible.
How to Scan Implant Abutments
In the case of a recommended cement-retained implant, if the final implant abutment is already seated, then — similarly to scanning a tooth to prepare it for a crown — the abutment can be scanned instead of removed to utilize the scan body.
Pay special attention to capture the abutment’s margins — situated at or .5 mm below the gingival margin — when taking digital impressions at an area where an abutment is seated. This will result in a more predictable cement cleanup. It may be necessary to retract and expose the soft tissue to expose the margins of the abutment if they’re covered by the gingiva. This will help our dental lab in Kingsport more accurately fabricate an implant crown.
To expose subgingival margins:
- Place the retraction cord before the implant site is scanned.
- Remove the cord after five minutes
- Immediately scan the implant site.
Following these steps will help you create a clear and concise digital impression. Review and inspect the scan, paying particular attention to the margin, abutment body and adjacent contacts before digitally submitting the scan to the lab.
Complete Seating of the Implant Scan Body
Before taking an intraoral scan for a digital impression, make sure the scan body is completely seated; otherwise, the restoration will not fit. Hand-tighten the scan body in place and collect radiographic confirmation to make sure it scan body is completed seated. If the scan body isn’t fully seated, the implant restoration won’t seat properly, either.
For our lab to be able to create a restoration that precisely accommodates the implant’s position and angulation, the scanning region of the scan body must be clearly captured. Having problems? Place Teflon tape in the screw access channel of the scan body, but make sure the tape doesn’t interfere with the scan area.
Evaluate, Adjust and Capture Accurate Contacts
When creating a restoration, we have to pay attention to more than the implant site; the adjacent teeth should also be evaluated to determine if contact areas will need modifications. Adjacent teeth can be scanned with the scan body in place; if data isn’t being accurately captured, thoroughly clean and dry the area, then rescan. Review the scans to ensure the scan body and adjacent contacts were accurately captured. If not, rescan those areas before sending the patient home.
Taking an Accurate Digital Bite Registration
Thanks to intraoral scanning technology, capturing an accurate bite scan has never been easier or more accurate. Be sure to thoroughly examine the bite scan before sending your patient home; an accurate bite scan leads to an accurate restoration.
Full-service dental lab in Kingsport, TN
Digital scanning technology is impeccably accurate, but a perfectly accurate, well-fitting restoration without the need for adjustments requires paying close attention to proper practices and techniques. Ensuring precise accuracy while a patient is in the chair will most likely mean that you will not have to repeat an impression. By taking time to study proper practices and how to avoid the most common dental impression errors, you’ll be giving everyone something to smile about.