Custom abutment flexibility

March 21, 2012

Flexibility and efficiency are necessary qualities in products for the dental laboratory, and a recent upgrade to the 3M™ ESPE™ Lava™ Design Software used with the Lava™ Scan ST Design System offers both. Now, Lava CAD operators can scan abutment links without the need for a scan locator. This added flexibility and compatibility make the process of creating custom Lava abutments much simpler.

Flexibility and efficiency are necessary qualities in products for the dental laboratory, and a recent upgrade to the 3M™ ESPE™ Lava™ Design Software used with the Lava™ Scan ST Design System offers both. Now, Lava CAD operators can scan abutment links without the need for a scan locator. This added flexibility and compatibility make the process of creating custom Lava abutments much simpler.

While it has always been possible to fabricate a custom abutment by scanning a waxup, this software upgrade allows the user to customize a digital implant abutment while using the virtual tools for a better design and more productive experience. The new capability of the software requires little training for lab technicians, allowing it to be implemented quickly and easily. Users simply select the “custom” abutment link, place the model with the titanium abutment link in the Lava Scan ST and digitize the case. At that point, a virtual design of the custom abutment can begin immediately, eliminating the need to scan a waxup or to use scan locators.

The elimination of scan locators is an important development with this upgrade, with helpful benefits to the laboratory in both productivity and inventory costs. This extended abutment module provides flexibility and compatibility with conventional systems, giving users access to the entire implant market, and making it easier for labs to create custom abutments with Lava zirconia.

Laboratory procedure

The following shows use of the software to create custom zirconia abutments for Tooth Nos. 8 and 9, for a case in which Tooth Nos. 7-10 were being restored (7 and 10 conventionally).

01 The model and case information arrived from another laboratory, and titanium abutment links were placed in Tooth Nos. 8 and 9 on the model (Fig. A). The model was then placed into the Lava Scan ST and scanned, after which a digital model appeared on the screen (Fig. B).

02 The software automatically detected the margins of the links and marked them. The alignment function was used to detect any undercuts in the link (Fig. C). An automatic calculation is performed to identify any sharp corners of the abutment links. At that point, the system adds extra space in these areas so the abutment fits smoothly over them (Fig. D).

03 The cement gap space was then designed according to 3M ESPE’s recommendation (Fig. E), and then the abutment was ready to be designed. The software generated an image of the abutment’s position in the mouth, and a drop-down menu was used to change the shape of the abutment (Figs. F, G and H).

04 The shape of the abutment above the margin could be further customized (Fig. I). If the technician wants to make changes to the abutment after zirconia sintering, that can be done prior to scanning for the restoration. A 3D view in the software was used to preview the fit of the abutment over the titanium base (Fig. J). Sprues were then added to the design and the data was digitally sent to the mill (Fig. K). At this point the user can choose to design a coping over the abutment that was just designed.

Once milling was completed, the abutments were tried on the model (Fig. L), cemented, polished (Fig. M), and copings were made for Lava crowns (Fig. N). The case was now complete and ready for crown restoration.