CAD/CAM Dental Abutments: How Technology Improves Implant Procedures

There are three main elements to every dental implant – the implant itself, the dental abutment and the dental prosthesis.  Of all of these three components, the abutment is the most important as this is the element which transfers the load from the crown to the titanium implant. In the past dentists have become frustrated with the abutment and the lack of choice available but new CAD-CAM procedures are making it easier for dentists to build a dental abutment which is customized to each of their patients. Read on to find out more about how CAD-CAM dental abutments are improving the dental implant procedure.

What is CAD-CAM?

CAD-CAM stands for Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture. This procedure is extensively used in the manufacturing world to produce intricate and complex components which would otherwise be hard to produce using more traditional methods. Dental Implant technology has come a long way over the past few years with dental implants dentists realizing that the best results come from producing components which are directly manufactured to suit the individual needs of each patient.  Totally customized abutments in the past were impossible with Stock abutments being the only abutment types available. Thanks to CAD-CAM dentists now have far more control over the fit and feel of their patient’s dental implants.

Stock Abutments

In the past, the only abutments available were stock abutments. As the name suggests these abutments are pre-made and sold as they are to be further refined and sculpted in the lab by your dentist.  The only method of modifying these stock abutments is pure subtraction – however, the abutments need to be cut with carbides, diamonds, and stone which makes the process difficult. Over the years the dental industry has seen vast improvements to stock abutments with a move towards angled and tapered abutments to provide a better more natural dental fit.

Customized Abutments

A move towards customized abutments has been seen recently. Customized abutments are abutments which utilize a casting method to improve the profile of the portion of the abutment which sits beneath the gum line. This method has been proven to correct angulation problems for patients but is extremely costly and very time-consuming. It makes sense that dentists are trying to move towards faster less expensive methods of producing dental, abutments.

CAD-CAM abutments

CAD-CAM abutment manufacture allows the dentist and the lab to request a very precise and specific abutment for the implant site. This is done in conjunction with a design manufacture team such as Atlantis.  Atlantis use state of the art software and milling equipment which uses the scan data from the patient’s dental castings to produce a completely customized abutment which is patient specific and what’s more important specifications for the actual implant area.

Often it is essential for a patient to wear a temporary restoration following the replacement of the implant. CAD-CAM means that delayed changes due to the healing of the site area during this time can be taken into account right up until the point at which the abutment is required. ‘Gemini’ and ‘Gemini’ plus abutments allow for these amendments.

It is apparent that new digital forms of dentistry are becoming an increasing trend and are creating a world of dentistry in which dentists are able to cater to a patients exact tooth replacement needs.  The industry has grown and changed so much over the last 20 years – who knows where we will be in another 20 years.

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