Accuracy of CAD-CAM-fabricated removable partial dentures

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Abstract

Statement of problem:

The conventional fabrication of removable partial dentures (RPDs) is a complex, error-prone, time-consuming, and expensive process. The use of computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM) techniques, especially rapid prototyping, promises a more effective method for fabricating RPD frameworks.

Purpose:

The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the fit of RPD clasps fabricated by means of 4 different CAD-CAM-systems and to compare those fittings with that of the conventional lost-wax casting technique (LWT).

Material and methods:

A master model of a partially edentulous maxilla with the canines and second molars as the remaining teeth was fabricated. After the model was optically scanned, we designed a quadrangularly supported RPD with 4 clasps and a palatal strap major connector. A standard tessellation language data set was used to fabricate 12 identical RPDs by using 4 different CAD-CAM techniques: indirect rapid prototyping (wax inject printing combined with LWT), direct rapid prototyping (selective laser melting), indirect milling (wax milling with LWT), and direct milling (resin milling [polyetheretherketone]). Three conventionally cast RPDs (LWT) served as the control group. The fit accuracy of the clasps (n=12 for each group) was determined in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions by using light microscopy.

Results:

Indirectly milled RPDs (117 ±34 μm horizontal and 45 ±21 μm vertical) and directly milled RPDs (43 ±23 μm horizontal, and 38 ±21 μm vertical) showed significantly better (P<.05) fit than did conventionally fabricated LWT RPDs (133 ±59 μm horizontal; 73 ±25 μm vertical). The worst fit was found for RPDs fabricated using indirect rapid prototyping (323 ±188 μm horizontal and 112 ±60 μm vertical) or direct rapid prototyping (365 ±205 μm horizontal and 363 ±133 μm vertical), which were unstable on the master model, making them unsuitable for clinical use. Most RPDs exhibited smaller vertical measuring distances.

Conclusions:

Compared with the LWT, milling techniques enabled fabrication of RPDs with comparable or better fit. However, RPDs fabricated with rapid prototyping techniques showed distinct fitting irregularities.

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