STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Titanium frameworks for implant-supported prostheses can be additively manufactured using different powder-based fusion technologies, including selective laser melting (SLM) and electron beam melting (EBM). Some manufacturers have developed a technique that combines the printing of the framework with the subsequent machining of the implant interface. Whether these technologies produce frameworks with acceptable accuracies is unclear.
The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the discrepancy obtained from the digitizing procedures of the definitive cast, the implant-prosthesis discrepancy, and the distortion of the manufacturing processes in the fabrication of titanium frameworks for implant-supported complete-arch prostheses manufactured using SLM and EBM additive manufacturing technologies.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
A completely edentulous mandibular definitive cast with 4 implant analogs and a replica of a screw-retained interim restoration was obtained. A standard tessellation language (STL) file of the framework design was prepared using dental software (Exocad). Six frameworks were manufactured using either SLM (3D Systems) or EBM (Arcam) technologies. Discrepancy (μm) was measured at the x- (mesiodistal), y- (buccolingual), and z- (occlusogingival) axes by using the formula 3D=x+y+z three times by best-fit superimposure of the definitive cast STL file, the definitive cast titanium framework, and the framework STL file by using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) controlled by software (Geomagic). The Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U statistical tests were used (α=.05).
The digitizing procedures of the definitive cast showed a mean accuracy of 3 ±3 μm. Except for the z-axis (P<.05), no significant differences were observed between the SLM and EBM technologies for implant prosthesis discrepancy for the x- or y-axis (P>.05). The most favorable results were obtained in the z-axis, representing the occlusogingival direction. Three-dimensional discrepancy measurements in all comparisons ranged between (60 ±18 μm and 69 ±30 μm) and were not statistically significant (P>.05). The highest discrepancy was observed in the y-axis (37 to 56 μm), followed by the x- (16 to 44 μm) and z- (6 to 11 μm) axes (P<.05).
The titanium frameworks analyzed for a complete-arch implant-supported prosthesis fabricated using either the SLM or EBM additive technologies showed a clinically acceptable implant-prosthesis discrepancy, where similar discrepancies on the x-, y-, and z-axes were found between the additive manufacturing technologies. Both technologies showed comparable abilities to manufacture the STL file additively on the x-, y-, and z-axes.