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Biomed Res Int. 2018 Jul 18;2018:5325032. doi: 10.1155/2018/5325032. eCollection 2018.

Digital versus Analog Procedures for the Prosthetic Restoration of Single Implants: A Randomized Controlled Trial with 1 Year of Follow-Up.

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Department of Medicine and Surgery, Dental School, University of Varese, Italy.
Department of Medicine and Surgery, Research Center in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Varese, Italy.



To compare the outcome of digital versus analog procedures for the restoration of single implants.


Over a two-year period (2014-2016), all patients who had been treated in a dental center with a single implant were randomly assigned to receive either a monolithic zirconia crown, fabricated with digital workflow (test group), or a metal-ceramic crown, fabricated with analog workflow (control group). All patients were followed for 1 year after the delivery of the final crown. The outcomes were success, complications, peri-implant marginal bone loss (PIMBL), patient satisfaction, and time and cost of the treatment.


50 patients (22 males, 28 females; mean age 52.6±13.4 years) were randomly assigned to one of the groups (25 per group). Both workflows showed high success (92%) and low complication rate (8%). No significant differences were found in the mean PIMBL between test (0.39±0.29mm) and control (0.54±0.32mm) groups. Patients preferred digital impressions. Taking the impression took half the time in the test group (20±5min) than in the control (50±7min) group. When calculating active working time, workflow in the test group was more time-efficient than in the control group, for provisional (70±15min versus 340±37min) and final crowns (29±9min versus 260±26min). The digital procedure presented lower costs than the analog (€277.3 versus €392.2).


No significant clinical or radiographic differences were found between digital and analog procedures; however, the digital workflow was preferred by patients; it reduced active treatment time and costs. The present study is registered in the ISRCTN ( with number 36259164.

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