Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1495–1504 | Cite as

In vivo precision of conventional and digital methods for obtaining quadrant dental impressions

  • Andreas EnderEmail author
  • Moritz Zimmermann
  • Thomas Attin
  • Albert Mehl
Original Article



Quadrant impressions are commonly used as alternative to full-arch impressions. Digital impression systems provide the ability to take these impressions very quickly; however, few studies have investigated the accuracy of the technique in vivo. The aim of this study is to assess the precision of digital quadrant impressions in vivo in comparison to conventional impression techniques.

Materials and methods

Impressions were obtained via two conventional (metal full-arch tray, CI, and triple tray, T-Tray) and seven digital impression systems (Lava True Definition Scanner, T-Def; Lava Chairside Oral Scanner, COS; Cadent iTero, ITE; 3Shape Trios, TRI; 3Shape Trios Color, TRC; CEREC Bluecam, Software 4.0, BC4.0; CEREC Bluecam, Software 4.2, BC4.2; and CEREC Omnicam, OC). Impressions were taken three times for each of five subjects (n = 15). The impressions were then superimposed within the test groups. Differences from model surfaces were measured using a normal surface distance method. Precision was calculated using the Perc90_10 value. The values for all test groups were statistically compared.


The precision ranged from 18.8 (CI) to 58.5 μm (T-Tray), with the highest precision in the CI, T-Def, BC4.0, TRC, and TRI groups. The deviation pattern varied distinctly depending on the impression method. Impression systems with single-shot capture exhibited greater deviations at the tooth surface whereas high-frame rate impression systems differed more in gingival areas. Triple tray impressions displayed higher local deviation at the occlusal contact areas of upper and lower jaw.


Digital quadrant impression methods achieve a level of precision, comparable to conventional impression techniques. However, there are significant differences in terms of absolute values and deviation pattern.

Clinical relevance

With all tested digital impression systems, time efficient capturing of quadrant impressions is possible. The clinical precision of digital quadrant impression models is sufficient to cover a broad variety of restorative indications. Yet the precision differs significantly between the digital impression systems.


CAD/CAM Digital impression Quadrant impression Precision Accuracy 


Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Ender
    • 1
    Email author
  • Moritz Zimmermann
    • 1
  • Thomas Attin
    • 2
  • Albert Mehl
    • 1
  1. 1.Division for Computerized Restorative Dentistry, Clinic for Preventive Dentistry, Periodontology and Cariology, Center of Dental MedicineUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Clinic for Preventive Dentistry, Periodontology and Cariology, Center of Dental MedicineUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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