Comparative in vitro study between digital and conventional impression techniques for artificial maxillectomy defect
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Background: The trend in using 3D digital dental technology has increased in the past two decades, however, its application in prosthetic rehabilitation of maxillofacial defects is still developing. The aim of this in vitro study was to assess the accuracy of utilizing digital technology to record an artificial central maxillofacial defect in comparison to conventional impression methods. Methods: Five casts were fabricated using conventional impression and casting method and five using digital technology from a master model. The casts were assessed in terms of time taken to fabricate each model and the accuracy when compared to the master cast. A digital calibre was used to record the distance using the reference point. Two measurements were recorded: anterior posterior measurement and lateral measurement. Shapiro-Wilk-Smirnov statistical test was used to test the normality of continuous variables. One independent sample t-test was used to compare means between standard and conventional and digital method. Pair t-test was used to compare pairwise between conventional and digital methods. Results: The data revealed that there was a significant less antero-posterior measure among digital technique comparing with a conventional technique, the difference -0.80 (0.22) with pvalue was 0.001. For the lateral measurement, there was less lateral measure within digital technique comparing with the measure among conventional techniques, the difference was - 0.73(0.09) and p-value < 0.001. Regarding the total time of the process, no statistical significance different was detected between digital techniques and conventional techniques, with difference -18.60 (127.54) and p-value 0.76. Conclusion: In this study, digital impression technique produced different results in terms of accuracy especially in the lateral measure when compared with master models. The time taken to record the arch and the defect using an intraoral scanner was significantly less when comparing with traditional impression method. There was no statistically significant difference between the two techniques in terms of the total time taken to fabricate a maxillary central defect. Additional research should be conducted to reach more conclusive results.