Introduction: Digital impressions in implant dentistry rely on many variables, and their accuracy, particularly in complete edentulous patients, is not well understood. Aim. The purpose of this literature review was to determine which factors may influence the accuracy of digital impressions in implant dentistry. Emphasized attention was given to the design of the intra-oral scan body (ISB) and scanning techniques.
Materials and methods: A Medline, PubMed and EBSCO Host databases search, complemented by a hand search, was performed in order to select relevant reports regarding the appliance of digital impressions in implant dentistry. The search subject included but was not limited to accuracy of digital impressions in implant dentistry, digital scanning techniques, the design and material of the ISBs, and the depth and angulation of the implant. The related titles and abstracts were screened, and the remaining articles that fulfilled the inclusion criteria were selected for full-text readings.
Results: The literature search conducted for this review initially resulted in 108 articles, among which only 21 articles fulfilled the criteria for inclusion. Studies were evaluated according to five subjects: accuracy of digital impressions in implant dentistry; the design and material of the intra-oral scan bodies; scanning technique; the influence of implants depth/angulations on the digital impression and accuracy of different intra-oral scanner devices.
Conclusions: The accuracy of digital impressions in implant dentistry depends on several aspects. The depth/angulation of the implant, the experience of the operator, the intra-oral scanner used, and environmental conditions may influence the accuracy of digital impressions in implant dentistry. However, it seems that ISBs' design and material, as well as scanning technique, have a major impact on the trueness and precision of digital impressions in implant dentistry. Future research is suggested for the better understanding of this subject, focusing on the optimization of the ISB design and scanning protocols.
Keywords: accuracy; digital impressions; implant angulation; implant dentistry; implant depth; intra-oral scan bodies; intra-oral scanner; scanning technique.