Background: A healing abutment (Encode®) provided with digitally coded information on length and diameter on the top was launched in 2007. So far, no study has evaluated working cast fabrication using impressions of the coded abutments and analogue placement using a robot technique.
Purpose: To compare the accuracy of implant analogue placement in working casts using a robot technique and an impression of Encode healing abutments, with the traditional technique.
Materials and Methods: One acrylic master model was fabricated, provided with two groups of three implant analogues. Encode healing abutments were mounted on the test side and conventional pickup impression copings were inserted on the control side. Fifteen impressions were made with a vinylpolysiloxane material. Implant analogues were placed by a robot on the test side. The center point of each implant analogue fitting surface was measured with a laser measuring machine in the x-, y-, and z-axis, as were also the angular direction of the center axis and the position of the antirotational hex. Two-way analysis of variance was performed using SPSS 17.0; the statistical significance was set at p < .05.
Results: Mean center point deviation for the test and control side was 37.4 µm versus 18.5 µm (p = .001) in the x-axis, 47.3 µm versus 13.9 µm (p < .001) in the y-axis, and 35.0 µm versus 15.1 µm (p < .013) in the z-axis. Mean angle error was 0.41 degrees for the test and 0.14 degrees for the control side (p < .001). Mean rotation of the hexagon was 2.88 degrees for the test side and 1.82 degrees for controls (p < .001).
Conclusions: Both conventional and robot technique presented low levels of displacement of the implant analogues in all casts. The test technique was less precise, but the difference in accuracy was small, and both techniques are precise enough for single crowns and short-span, implant-supported fixed partial prostheses.