Statement of problem: Accurate recording of implant locations is required so that definitive restorations are properly supported and do not place additional stress on the implants. Angulated implants may result in inaccurate impressions, and the impression technique may affect the accuracy of the definitive cast. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect the combined interaction of impression technique, implant angulation, and implant number has on the accuracy of implant definitive casts. Material and methods: One definitive stone cast was fabricated for each of 6 experimental groups and 1 control group. All 7 definitive casts had 3 implants arranged in a triangular pattern creating a plane. In the 6 experimental groups, the center implant was perpendicular to the plane of the cast while the outer implants had 5, 10, or 15 degrees convergence towards or divergence away from the center implant. The control definitive cast had all 3 implants parallel to each another and perpendicular to the plane of the cast. Five open tray and 5 closed tray addition silicone impressions were made of each definitive cast. Impressions were poured with type IV dental stone, and a fine tip measuring stylus was used to record multiple axis (X-Y-Z) coordinates on the top surface of the implant hex and on the cast base. Computer software was used to align the data sets and vector calculations determined the difference in degrees between the implant angles in the definitive cast and the duplicate casts. Statistical analysis used repeated-measures ANOVA (α=.05) with post-hoc tests of significant interactions. Results: The angle errors for the closed and open tray impression techniques did not differ significantly (P=.22). Implant angulations and implant numbers differed in average angle errors but not in any easily interpreted pattern (P<.001). The combined interaction of impression technique, implant angulation, and implant number had no effect on the accuracy of the duplicate casts compared to the definitive casts (P=.19). Conclusions: The average angle errors for the closed and open tray impression techniques did not differ significantly. There was no interpretable pattern of average angle errors in terms of implant angulation and implant number. The magnitude of distortion was similar for all combinations of impression technique, implant angulation, and implant number.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics and the Stanley D. Tylman Research Program for supporting this study through a Tylman Grant. The authors also thank 3i, a Biomet Co, and Ms Stephanie Schoenrock for donating implant analogs used for this study.