Statement of problem: The accuracy and efficiency of digital implant impressions should match conventional impressions. Comparisons should be made with clinically relevant data.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the difficulty level and operator's perception between dental students and experienced clinicians when making digital and conventional implant impressions.
Material and methods: Thirty experienced dental professionals and 30 second-year dental students made conventional and digital impressions of a single implant model. A visual analog scale (VAS) and multiple-choice questionnaires were used to assess the participant's perception of difficulty, preference, and effectiveness. Wilcoxon signed-rank test within the groups and Wilcoxon rank-sum test between the groups were used for statistical analysis (α=.05).
Results: On a 0 to 100 VAS, the student group scored a mean difficulty level of 43.1 (±18.5) for the conventional impression technique and 30.6 (±17.6) for the digital impression technique (P=.006). The clinician group scored a mean (standard deviation) difficulty level of 30.9 (±19.6) for conventional impressions and 36.5 (±20.6) for digital impressions (P=.280). Comparison between groups showed a mean difficulty level with the conventional impression technique significantly higher in the student group (P=.030). The digital impression was not significantly different between the groups (P=.228). Sixty percent of the students preferred the digital impression and 7% the conventional impression; 33% expressed no preference. In the clinician group, 33% preferred the digital impression and 37% the conventional impression; 30% had no preference. Seventy-seven percent of the student group felt most effective with digital impressions, 10% with conventional impressions, and 13% with either technique, whereas 40% of the clinician group chose the digital impression as the most effective technique, 53% the conventional impression, and 7% either technique.
Conclusions: The conventional impression was more difficult to perform for the student group than the clinician group; however, the difficulty level of the digital impression was the same in both groups. It was also determined that the student group preferred the digital impression as the most efficient impression technique, and the clinician group had an even distribution in the choice of preferred and efficient impression techniques.
Copyright © 2013 Editorial Council for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.