To compare the three-dimensional accuracy of an open-tray and two snap on impression techniques (with and without connecting the plastic caps of the snap on impression transfers) in a full arch 6-implant model, a reference acrylic resin model of the maxilla with six implants was fabricated. Prominent geometrical triangles, in the palate area, served as reference points for a digital overlap between scans. Three impression transfer techniques were evaluated and compared: open-tray direct impression (DI), snap on impression (SpO), and connected snap on impression (SpOC). Polyether impression material was used to make 30 impressions (n = 10), and the master model and all casts were digitally scanned with a laboratory optical scanner. The obtained 3D data were converted and recorded as STL files, which were imported to a 3D inspection software program. Angular deviations (buccal, occlusal and interproximal planes) between the study casts and the reference model were measured. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey post hoc test, with 0.05 used as the level of significance. The 3D angular deviations from the master model revealed no significant differences between the DI and SpO impression groups, but there were significant differences in the SpOC impression group, particularly in the buccal and occlusal planes. In all groups, the 3D angular deviation between the most distal scan abutments on each side of the model was significantly different from all other areas when compared to the master model. Within the limits of this study, it is possible to conclude that the indirect closed tray snap on impression technique with unconnected plastic caps exhibited the same three-dimensional accuracies as the direct open tray technique. The indirect closed tray snap on impression technique with connected plastic caps was less accurate than either the indirect closed tray snap on impression technique with unconnected plastic caps or the direct open tray technique. In the case of full arch implant supported prostheses, inaccuracies may be expected in the most distal implants for all the three impression techniques evaluated in this study. Further in vitro and in vivo research is required.
- Snap on