Digital vs. conventional implant prosthetic workflows: a cost/time analysis

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The aim of this prospective cohort trial was to perform a cost/time analysis for implant-supported single-unit reconstructions in the digital workflow compared to the conventional pathway.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 20 patients were included for rehabilitation with 2 × 20 implant crowns in a crossover study design and treated consecutively each with customized titanium abutments plus CAD/CAM-zirconia-suprastructures (test: digital) and with standardized titanium abutments plus PFM-crowns (control conventional). Starting with prosthetic treatment, analysis was estimated for clinical and laboratory work steps including measure of costs in Swiss Francs (CHF), productivity rates and cost minimization for first-line therapy. Statistical calculations were performed with Wilcoxon signed-rank test.


Both protocols worked successfully for all test and control reconstructions. Direct treatment costs were significantly lower for the digital workflow 1815.35 CHF compared to the conventional pathway 2119.65 CHF [P = 0.0004]. For subprocess evaluation, total laboratory costs were calculated as 941.95 CHF for the test group and 1245.65 CHF for the control group, respectively [P = 0.003]. The clinical dental productivity rate amounted to 29.64 CHF / min (digital) and 24.37 CHF / min (conventional) [P = 0.002]. Overall, cost minimization analysis exhibited an 18% cost reduction within the digital process.


The digital workflow was more efficient than the established conventional pathway for implant-supported crowns in this investigation.

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