2022 Guide to Digital Dentures: Process, Cost, and Workflow

digital dentures

2022 Guide to Digital Dentures: Process, Cost, and Workflow

By David Hudnall

Since 1934, the traditional reverse image method has been the standard technique used to fabricate acrylic dentures. Yet within the past 10 years, this procedure has started to fall by the wayside in favor of newer methodology. It’s remarkable that someone saw the possibilities and had the foresight to extrapolate automated manufacturing standards to dental prosthetics. Not only have digital dentures revolutionized denture making for the better, digital denture technology now makes it possible to create precise-fitting dentures that require almost no adjustments. What a benefit for everyone involved!

What Are Digital Dentures?

Digital dentures use computer-aided design and manufacturing technology to create perfectly fitting dentures from scanned impressions and bite registrations. Captured impressions are transmitted to the denture laboratory where they are crafted into full-mouth restorations. Digital denture technology encompasses the manufacture of dentures using either additive 3D printing or subtractive 3D milling. Irrespective of the process employed, digital dentures vs. traditional dentures are far less labor-intensive, are less invasive to the patient, and they reduce the number of visits required to complete the process.

Digital Dentures vs. Traditional Dentures

CAD/CAM technology is utilized to create a pattern that allows digital dentures to be designed and fabricated to precise specifications by 3D manufacturing equipment. When compared to traditional dentures, digital dentures offer numerous advantages that reduce processing time and eliminate errors associated with physical impressions and manual denture processing.

digital dentures

How Do Digital Dentures Work?

After the dentist has captured records of the patient’s mouth, the dental technician uses sophisticated software to create and customize dentures virtually. These images are brought to fruition through 3D printing or milling.

How Do 3D Printers Make Dentures?

3D printing is a manufacturing process that utilizes computer software to direct the addition of raw material onto a stationary plate in increments in order to build the desired object. Liquid resin is selectively exposed to a light source to form very thin layers of cured solid material. These layers are stacked upon one another to create the final three-dimensional object – in this case, a denture baseplate or denture teeth that are custom designed to fit the specific curvature of the patient’s dental arch.

3D Printed Dentures Price

Much like a digital x-ray machine or a CT scanner, acquiring all of the necessary training, hardware, software, equipment, and supplies to make printed dentures represents a huge investment to the dental lab. Once the return on investment is recovered, how much digital dentures cost to manufacture is actually reduced. Because labor costs are lower with automation, dentists can expect denture prices to be relatively stable in the foreseeable future when comparing the costs of producing digital dentures vs. traditional dentures.

3D Printed Dentures Material

For printed dentures, the material of choice is light-cured methacrylate resin. Gum-colored resin is used to form the denture baseplates. Similar tooth-shaded methacrylate resin, corresponding to the VITA shade guide, is selected and used to fabricate denture teeth that will marry with their respective baseplates.

Where Can I Get 3D Printed Dentures?

Printed dentures are available from a variety of state-of-the-art dental laboratories. Stomadent Dental Laboratory remains at the forefront of new technology and has established a protocol that consistently produces beautiful, great-fitting 3D dentures that any dentist would be proud to deliver to their patients.

What Is a Typical Digital Dentures Workflow?

The digital denture workflow actually begins in the dental office. The clinician establishes a bite record and uses a chairside scanner to capture the patient’s intraoral anatomy. These scans are digitized and stored in files that are electronically submitted to the denture laboratory.

Digital Denture Technology

3D computerized mock-ups of the dentures, based on the captured records, are created virtually by the denture technician. Manufacturing parameters are applied to the design to allow for uniform thickness of the baseplates, minimization of physical handling, and optimization of material use for less waste. Typically, the lab uses digital denture technology to make a physical mockup that the dentist can try in the patient’s mouth. This try-in may be modified at chairside to establish the desired result. Once the try-in is returned to the lab, the manufacturing parameters are altered accordingly and denture baseplates are printed. Denture teeth are printed separately for an exact fit with the respective baseplates.

Digital Denture Tools

After printing, the denture component pieces are cleansed and trimmed free of their manufacturing supports using specialized digital denture tools and solutions. The technician then joins the printed denture teeth with their respective baseplates by hand. Final curing and polishing complete the workflow.

How Much Do Digital Dentures Cost?

When asked “How much do digital dentures cost?”, consider that digital dentures offer both the dentist and denture wearer better overall value for the money. Because the specifications for dentures are saved, it is possible to quickly re-create replacement dentures at a lower cost than making conventional dentures since the impression and intermediate appointments are entirely avoided. Traditional dentures come with more inherent errors and issues, generate more waste, and require more labor to produce and deliver than digital dentures.

Are Digital Dentures Expensive?

Stomadent Dental Lab offers its basic 3D printed dentures to dental professionals starting at $290 per arch. Similar traditional economy dentures are also offered at the same price point. For comparison, 3D milled dentures made from superior-quality resins are offered to dentists by Stomadent for $490 per arch. This price point is only slightly higher than their conventionally-made counterparts.

Because of the work provided by the dentist, patients can expect dentures to cost between $500 and $2,000 per arch, depending on denture quality and geographic location.

Your Source for Digital Dentures

What are digital dentures without the expertise to bring them to life? Because Stomadent Dental Laboratory invested in digital denture technology while in its infancy, our technical staff is light years ahead of many of our competitors. We have the experience that allows us to produce a superior product that exceeds the expectations of your most demanding patients. Trust Stomadent to be your source for digital dentures!

For more information about the advantages of digital printing, follow this link:


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