Influence of abutment tooth geometry on the accuracy of conventional and digital methods of obtaining dental impressions

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Abstract

Statement of problem.

Direct (intraoral) and indirect (desktop) digital scanning can record abutment tooth preparations despite their geometry. However, little peer-reviewed information is available regarding the influence of abutment tooth geometry on the accuracy of digital methods of obtaining dental impressions.

Purpose.

The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the influence of abutment tooth geometry on the accuracy of conventional and digital methods of obtaining dental impressions in terms of trueness and precision.

Material and methods.

Crown preparations with known total occlusal convergence (TOC) angles (−8, −6, −4, 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 22 degrees) were digitally created from a maxillary left central incisor and printed in acrylic resin. Each of these 9 reference models was scanned with a highly accurate reference scanner and saved in standard tessellation language (STL) format. Then, 5 conventional polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) impressions were made from each reference model, which was poured with Type IV dental stone scanned using both the reference scanner (group PVS) and the desktop scanner and exported as STL files. Additionally, direct digital impressions (intraoral group) of the reference models were made, and the STL files were exported. The STL files from the impressions obtained were compared with the original geometry of the reference model (trueness) and within each test group (precision). Data were analyzed using 2-way ANOVA with the post hoc least significant difference test (α=.05).

Results.

Overall trueness values were 19.1 μm (intraoral scanner group), 23.5 μm (desktop group), and 26.2 μm (PVS group), whereas overall precision values were 11.9 μm (intraoral), 18.0 μm (PVS), and 20.7 μm (desktop). Simple main effects analysis showed that impressions made with the intraoral scanner were significantly more accurate than those of the PVS and desktop groups when the TOC angle was less than 8 degrees (P<.05). Also, a statistically significant interaction was found between the effects of the type of impression and the TOC angle on the precision of single-tooth dental impressions (F=2.43, P=.002). Visual analysis revealed that the intraoral scanner group showed a homogeneous deviation pattern across all TOC angles tested, whereas scans from the PVS and desktop scanner groups showed marked local deviations when undercuts (negative angles) were present.

Conclusions.

Conventional dental impressions alone or those further digitized with an extraoral digital scanner cannot reliably reproduce abutment tooth preparations when the TOC angle is close to 0 degrees. In contrast, digital impressions made with intraoral scanning can accurately record abutment tooth preparations independently of their geometry.

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