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Objectives: To compare the fit accuracy of the retentive clasps as parts of removable partial denture frameworks fabricated by digitally assisted technique and that fabricated by a conventional procedure using the micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) analysis.
Materials and Methods: A cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) model with partial edentulous area at the upper right second premolar was constructed and used as a master model. Three groups of removable partial denture frameworks with direct retainers on the upper right first premolar and the upper right first molar were fabricated (n=5). The first group was digitally scanned by an intraoral scanner. In the second group, a conventional impression was taken with alginate, poured with type IV gypsum and digitally scanned by a laboratory scanner. Both groups were virtually surveyed, designed and 3D-printed as resin frameworks prior to lost-wax casting. The third group was conventionally fabricated. The frameworks from each group were then positioned on the Co-Cr master model. The gap widths were analyzed at the terminal end of the retentive clasp using the micro-CT. A two-way ANOVA with a multiple comparison Bonferroni test was used to compare the mean differences of gap width among the groups and the mean differences of gap width between teeth in the same group at 0.05 significance level.
Results: The mean gap width of the second group that received a laboratory scanning was significantly greater than those of the other groups. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean gap width of the frameworks received an intraoral scanning and a conventionally fabricated (p>0.05). Furthermore, the statistically significant difference of the mean gap width between tooth 14 (151.19±1.12µm) and 16 (181.71±8.03µm) was observed only in the second group that received a laboratory scanning (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Removable partial denture frameworks fabricated from digitally-assisted technique with the use of intraoral scanning and a conventional procedure exhibited better fit accuracy than those fabricated digitally with the use of laboratory scanning.
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