Two dental technicians looking at a digital denture. Various pictures of the denture tooth VITA VIONIC VIGO.

Conventional or digital? Digital dentures without compromise

Five things you should know to start fabricating digital dentures without compromising esthetics. 

You have probably already asked yourself the following questions: What can digital full dentures do and does digital denture fabrication in the dental laboratory make sense at this point in time? And does the CAD software really do what dental technicians have learned over decades? After all, full dentures are one of the most demanding dental technology disciplines. In this post you will find answers to these and many other questions about digital dentures. 

Is the digital denture (esthetically) better or worse?

How convenient would it be to simply fabricate a digital denture at the press of a button? But how good is the result? Perhaps you have already seen digitally fabricated dentures in the past and were disappointed with the esthetic result. Opaque tooth shade and a tooth position that resembles the proverbial "picket fence." It does not have to be that way! Modern processes have been developed for digital full dentures. These processes allow you to achieve the same standard in terms of esthetics and function as when you conventionally fabricate dentures – and with all the advantages of digitization (cost-effectiveness, efficiency, material quality, etc.). 

Perhaps you have already dealt with the topic of digital dentures more intensively and have noticed that a large number of processes are offered, but with very different results. Now let's learn all about the advantages and disadvantages of the processes. 

The main distinguishing feature is the type of fabrication:

  • In one-part fabrication, the denture is fabricated from one piece (monolithic). The fabrication is fully digitally (CAD/CAM milling). 
  • In two-part fabrication, the denture base and dental arch are created separately (CAD/CAM milling, 3D printing), and then both parts are put together (manually). 
  • The third option is multi-part fabrication in which the denture base is fabricated mechanically (CAD/CAM milling, 3D printing) and prefabricated teeth are bonded in (manually).

System-dependent differences: Basic grinding of the prefabricated teeth (CAD/CAM) may be necessary – or is no longer necessary with special, prefabricated digital denture teeth. 

The guide "Digital dentures for beginners"

PDF guideline "Digital Dentures for Beginners"

The ultimate five-step guide to getting started with digital dentures 

* Results dependent on the manufacturer and system. Multi-shade blanks for monolithic fabrication offer better esthetic possibilities.
** The esthetic level that can actually be achieved is influenced by the esthetic quality of the respective tooth product.

This overview shows how great the differences are between the processes. A detailed description of the individual processes and systems can be found here

Regardless of which digital full denture process you choose, it should be optimally tailored to your laboratory situation. 

Digital dentures – what works esthetically and what does not?

You don’t need to compromise on esthetics and quality with digital full dentures. Note that there are big differences between the (material) systems! From the viewpoint of the dental technician, there are two dimensions to consider: 

Dentists and patients first evaluate a denture based on its esthetics. Does the digitally fabricated denture look natural in the patient's mouth? 

Checklist for the choice of the "right" process:

  • The monolithic (monoblock) fabricated denture can only meet the esthetic expectations for naturalness and vitality to a very limited extent. There are various limitations in terms of tooth shape, individual tooth position and light-optical properties. 
  • With a two-part fabrication process (base, dental arch) you can achieve adequate esthetic results. A try-in in the patient's mouth and any possible adjustments are possible, but only with great effort. In addition, very simplified tooth shapes result from the milling process. The acrylics for the dental arch often offer only limited light optics. Frequently, unfilled PMMA acrylics are used, which can result in high wear on the teeth. 
  • A good esthetic can be achieved with prefabricated denture teeth that are adjusted at the base. Conventional prefabricated teeth are held in a frame and processed at the base in the milling machine. However, this option is only available to users of Amann Girrbach milling machines (Ceramill FDS system). Several manufacturers (e.g., Merz Dental, Kulzer, VITA Zahnfabrik) offer corresponding tooth lines. 
  • The next step in the evolution of the digital full denture has been achieved with the multi-part process using prefabricated teeth (VITA VIONIC VIGO). The specially developed VITA VIONIC VIGO denture tooth consists of an SE polymer (polymer matrix reinforced with silicon oxide fillers). The tooth has an optimized basal geometry, is already preconditioned (blasted) for bonding in the denture base and is "ready-to-use." The cervical or basal tooth geometry allows a secure, rotation-free attachment of the teeth in the milled or printed denture base. And the esthetics are convincing: VITA VIONIC VIGO offers you different tooth shapes in a physically vital design. A wonderful internal play of shade enables a highly natural impression. Shape, shade, light dynamics, surface texture – there are no limits on the esthetics. 

Summary: Five things you should know about digital dentures!

1. Not every process delivers the same (esthetic) quality!

Procedures and workflows for the digital full denture differ considerably from one another. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the individual systems. 

2. No large investment is required to get started in digital full dentures!

With a coordinated system for digital full dentures (e.g., VITA VIONIC), you simply use your existing CAD software and CAD/CAM milling unit. If you prefer printing (e.g., denture base, try-in), use your laboratory printer. 

3. Digital dentures can also be produced without esthetic compromises!

You can create highly esthetic dentures with the VITA VIONIC multi-part process (denture base and individual prefabricated teeth). You don’t need to make compromises. 

4. Cover a multitude of patient cases (full dentures) with the right tooth library!

Tooth libraries are integrated in the denture module of the software. These are configured by the tooth manufacturers. For a large variety of indications, you should pay attention to extensive tooth libraries that allow you to use all angle classes and various setup concepts. 

5. You do not have to eliminate the try-in in the patient's mouth!

Most concepts allow for a try-in, but adjustments often involve additional effort. Adjustments are conveniently done in the multi-part process when prefabricated teeth are used. 

The guide "Digital dentures for beginners"

PDF guideline "Digital Dentures for Beginners"

The ultimate five-step guide to getting started with digital dentures 

Are you interested? Click here and find out more:

Experience reported by colleagues

Link to the success stories of colleagues, dental technicians in the background

Digital denture: First steps

Link to the report "Digital dentures – how to get started", in the background a milled denture base

Experience reported by colleagues

Link to the success stories of colleagues, in the background Ralph van der Reijden