Vienna: In a few years time, the conventional method of taking dental impressions using an impression tray could be a thing of the past. The MedUni Vienna Clinic of Dentistry, Oral and Orthodontic Medicine already uses CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) for taking impressions for and making many of the dental implants required in a special outpatient clinic. The scope of application of this method ranges from single tooth implants to complete dentures. In this respect, the Vienna University Clinic of Dentistry is one of the leading clinics in Europe.
"MedUni Vienna is already using digital
impressions for particularly demanding oral surgeries and complex
prosthetic restorations. At the same time, we are generating important
input for the further development of CAD/CAM technology, both in our
research and in our clinical practice," explains Andreas Moritz,
Principal of the University Clinic of Dentistry, Oral and Orthodontic
As in the previous method, the teeth are first of all
prepared – for example by polishing – and then the prepared teeth, the
adjacent teeth and the opposing teeth are scanned in a contactless
procedure using a small, ergonomically-shaped optical scanner. The
graphical data obtained are then converted into a 3-D computer model,
which is then digitally processed by a dental technician.
software performs all those steps of dental technology, which previously
had to be done manually. Nowadays a dental technician is much more a
dental designer and can accurately perfect the dental implant
virtually," says Tom Vaskovich, head of MedUni Vienna’s dental
laboratory. Once the optical impression and virtual design have been
completed, the computerized milling machine (CAM) manufactures the
dental implant. Often a physical model is no longer required for single
tooth restorations. It is possible to work "model-free" without any loss
of quality. The model is then only really used for control purposes.
main advantages for the treatment team are the enhanced precision of
the impression, the ability to check the quality of the impression very
quickly and the reproducibility and availability of datasets," says
Moritz. The advantages for patients are that the impression-taking
process is much more pleasant, impressions can be taken quickly and
contact-free, even following operations, and digital impressions for
dental implants ensure an even more accurate fit.
the MedUni Vienna experts, in around three years time this new technique
will be refined to such a stage that it will be possible to take all
impressions digitally. For information: CAD/CAM technology was initially
developed for the aerospace and automotive industry and was
subsequently incorporated into modern dental technology.