Digital technology is everywhere including in the world of restorative dentistry in the form of new digital dentures. There are some distinct advantages to them over conventional dentures, though the upfront costs and long-term value also tend to be a little more, depending on your current insurance coverage.
What Are Digital Dentures?
Digital dentures are made using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology. The process creates a highly durable, removable denture in a fraction of the time it takes to produce conventional dentures.
Digital dentures differ from immediate dentures which are meant to serve as temporary teeth after tooth extraction. Instead, they are created using cutting-edge technology to create dentures that are meant to last.
You’re probably wondering what are digital dentures and how are they made. These long-term removal oral prosthetics are created through a meticulous cutting-edge 3D printing process. This cuts weeks off the time it would take to get conventional made in a dental lab.
How Are Digital Dentures Made?
Digital dentures are a new technology offered by a select number of dental restoration specialists with access to special 3D printing technology. To find one specializing in this technology, you just have to enter the term “digital dentures near me” into your favorite internet search engine. From there the expedited process of fitting you for digital dentures occurs in three phases.
Step 1: Mouth Scans
The digital dentures specialist will need to take exacting oral scans of your mouth using cutting-edge diagnostics that are guided by state-of-the-art oral CAD/CAM software.
Step 2: Scans Sent To The Lab
The detailed scans are then sent to a special dental lab where they are processed and the image is fully rendered into a series of 3D images. This information is then extrapolated to be compatible with a special type of 3D printer that’s engineered for oral dental applications.
Step 3: 3D Printing Begins
The special oral 3D printer then creates the digital dentures from a single piece of high-strength, oral-grade dental resin. Since there isn’t any sort of curing process, the solid dental resin provides you with an exceptional fit that perfectly matches your existing dentition.
This will give you a set of beautifully crafted removable digital dentures in roughly one to three weeks. Whereas the turnaround time for most conventional dentures ranges from six to eight weeks.
How Much Do Digital Dentures Cost?
The average digital dentures cost averages around $2,000 from the scan through the production of the denture itself. This is on par with what the denture cost is for mid-to-low-quality conventional dentures.
If you have Medicare or cut-rate dental insurance, you might be wondering how much do digital dentures cost.
Since they are a relatively new technology, Medicare currently doesn’t cover the cost of digital dentures, and private dental insurance companies might leave you to pay the entire $2,000 out of pocket. Even if your current policy does offer some coverage for conventional dentures.
When it comes to denture information for caregivers, it’s important to research all the policy information for your dependent. Then coordinate this information with their current level of coverage. Some public health institutions might offer partial coverage for a digital denture if it’s deemed to be a medical necessity.
Though what you need to bear in mind here, is that digital dentures are engineered to last twice as long or longer than conventional dentures. They are also more likely to fit firmly for longer. Digital dentures are also less likely to need realignments and repairs.
This makes digital affordable dentures and implants some of the most affordable dental restorations for people missing multiple teeth.
So, while there’s a chance you might have to pay more upfront, and out-of-pocket for digital dentures, they are more likely to have greater long-term value savings than conventional dentures.
Why Are Digital Dentures Better?
As a relatively new technology in the dental restoration landscape, you are only right to wonder are digital dentures better. Though it’s not just the rapid turnaround time and the impressive technology used to produce them that makes digital dentures better than conventional dentures.
These cutting-edge oral prosthetics are engineered to fit better with your natural dentition and offer similar comfort fit like flexible dentures. Not only does this mean they will fit better without tons of messy denture adhesive. They are more likely to need fewer realignments over time. Even if your underlying dentition starts to change.
Digital dentures also tend to last longer and restore more of your original bite force. This is due to the way they are precision milled by a 3D printer from high-quality, oral-grade dental resin.
Top 10 Benefits Of Digital Dentures
There are several benefits of digital dentures that make them worthy of investment. Even if your current dental insurance plan doesn’t specifically cover them, but does offer some level of coverage for conventional dentures.
- Precise Fit
Digital dentures are made from precise digital scans of your mouth, that is then extrapolated via CAD/CAM technology for state-of-the-art 3D printing
Milled from high-quality, dental-grade oral resin digital dentures are much stronger and last much longer than acrylic or other conventional denture materials.
3. Faster Turn-Around Time
The CAD/CAM-guided 3D printed technology used to create digital dentures usually translates into a faster turnaround time than conventional dentures. Depending on where you are, and the dental lab the prosthetics expert uses, you might be able to get digital dentures in as little as 2 days. Though one to three weeks is the more realistic average turnaround time.
4. Fewer Appointments
Digital dentures can usually be made in fewer appointments than conventional dentures. This usually involves a comprehensive oral exam, which may or may not require additional tooth extractions. Then oral scans are taken and sent to the dental lab that 3D prints the digital dentures. When they’re ready your dentist will ensure they have a proper fit.
5. Replacements In Two Days
In some cases, where the 3D printing dental lab is close to your digital denture provider, they can be ready in as little as two days.
The cost of digital dentures is very similar to conventional dentures. Though they tend to last longer and require fewer adjustments. This lowers the overall long-term cost of digital dentures.
7. Less Likely to Need Realignment
Digital dentures fit more accurately to your dentition and will naturally need fewer alignments over time.
8. Less Likely to Need Repairs
The durable dental resin used to mill single-piece digital dentures is less likely to be damaged or chipped or require repairs.
9. Easy to Maintain
Digital dentures are very easy to clean and maintain. The dental resin they are milled from is less likely to stain or embed with stubborn bacterial deposits.
Depending on the number of teeth you need to be restored a digital denture can be used to replace a full dental arch. Though this same technology can also be used to create digital partial dentures.
Digital Dentures Vs Conventional Dentures
When comparing digital dentures vs conventional dentures, it helps to start by understanding the technology involved as well as the superior materials they are made from.
- Materials And Durability
Digital dentures are milled from high-strength, dental-grade resin which is much more durable than conventional dentures. It also tends to have superior bite strength If you read a lot of digital dentures reviews, you’ll hear many people talking about how they have a bite force that is more like their natural teeth.
- Production Process
The CAD/CAM-guided oral scans at the start of the digital dentures process lead to a more precise fit. At the same time, the 3D printing process translates into a faster turnaround time than conventional dentures.
Fit precisely, and made from more durable materials, digital dentures are also less likely to need repairs or realignment. This gives them superior long-term value compared to conventional dentures. Digital dentures also tend to have a longer lifespan and don’t need replacing as soon as conventional dentures.
The precise oral scans and CAD/CAM-guided 3D milling process translates into digital dentures that fit firmly on day one. Without having to use as much denture adhesive. They also tend to match your dentition for longer than conventional dentures.
Digital dentures are easy to maintain and are less likely to develop stubborn bacterial deposits. They also tend to need fewer repairs and are less likely to need realigning.
How Long Do Digital Dentures Last?
With proper care and cleaning, digital dentures can last 10 to 15 years or more. Though changes in your underlying bone structure are the most common reason why you might need earlier replacement.
Still, this is a superior lifespan compared to conventional dentures which generally need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years. While also needing at least one or two realignments along the way.
The care and cleaning of digital dentures are very similar to conventional denture care. It starts with removing them and giving the denture a gentle rinse to remove any food particles, plaque buildup, and residual denture adhesive. Brush the denture with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a little bit of non-abrasive denture toothpaste.
At that point, the digital denture can be soaked in a denture cleaning solution to kill any lingering bacteria and freshen it. Then remove it for another rinse under warm water. You can then store the cleaned digital dentures overnight in a glass of cold water.
From start to finish the average time to get a complete set of digital dentures is one to three weeks. Though in some cases it might be possible to get them in as little as two to five business days.
Digital dentures can be relined in a process that is very similar to conventional dentures. The turnaround time tends to be the same, and the fit after relining tends to be superior to what you get from conventional denture relining.
The evolution of CAD/CAM software, 3D printing, and milling technology has opened the doors for a wide range of cutting-edge prosthetics. So, it was only a matter of time until dental restoration specialists found a way to use it for dentures and other dental restorations.
If you break, badly damage, or lose your digital dentures they can be quickly recreated much faster than conventional dentures. The original digital scans are stored on file and there’s no need for any sort of delays for making an impression.