Dentist Support

Case Planning

The perfect restoration starts with good case planning. To help even the most difficult case achieve a perfect outcome, here are 7 case planning tips used by the industry’s most successful dental professionals worldwide.

Tip #1: Use pictures.

The perfect fit… can you picture it? A picture is worth a thousand words, so the more detailed information you can provide us, the better outcome you will receive on your case. Pre-operative pictures and models are typically the best and only method of communicating the needs of your patient. While a phone call or simple email can often enhance specific case directions, emailing a digital picture of the case to your lab technician can increase your chances of getting the perfect fit every time. Make this a standard part of your case planning.

Tip #2: Get a good impression.

And get it right the first time. The impression is the foundation for a successful restoration and selecting the right tray for your case (triple tray, stock trays or customized impression tray) is critical. Wondering which tray and material is best for your case? Consult with a Seattle Dental Arts Lab technician. The best impressions are obtained by using a heavy body with wash technique or by creating a custom tray. For the pros and cons of using different trays in your case, please refer to our technical advice section.

Tip #3: The importance of bite registrations.

A good bite registration is highly critical for a successful restoration. Although every situation is unique, here are some general tips for you to bite down on:

  • The patient is often numb and generally has no understanding of their centric bite. The staff member or dentist should guide them through the process of getting the perfect bite.
  • Most often, the less bite material that is used between the opposing dentitions, the better the bite registration.
  • The more memory (rubbery) the registration materials are, the more difficult it is for the lab to accurately set and mount the opposing casts.
  • Opposing casts also require accurate impressions to help eliminate occlusal interference from bubbles or missed areas in the impressions.

Tip #4: Get the perfect shade.

Achieving a perfect shading technique can be a challenging part of any case. However, including a picture with your case can increase your success rate with obtaining the perfect shade. By including a small piece of white paper and a shade tab with your case, we can color correct the image and also observe the subtle shading differences unique to that tooth.

Tip #5: Fill out your prescription completely.

Filling out an accurate and complete prescription is paramount to a successful case. Why? It is critical to helping us understand and record the specific details needed to provide you with the perfect case outcome! Be sure to indicate the correct tooth numbers and indicate the alloys, specific designs, shades, and other important details that you prefer on your case. And finally, don’t forget to sign your prescription!

Tip #6: Common problems.

Temporary restorations that don’t fit the patient well can cause frustration for both the dentist and the lab. So we’ve outlined some common problems that are typically the cause of most final adjustment needs. Prevent frustrations with temporary restorations on your case by being aware of the following issues:

  • If the temporary is loose in contact with the adjacent teeth, tooth movement can cause tight contacts for the final restoration. This may require multiple adjustments in order to successfully seat the crown.
  • If the temporary is tight in contact with the adjacent teeth, tooth movement can cause open contacts for the final restoration. This would require adding porcelain and an additional appointment for the patient.
  • If the temporary is loose in occlusion with the opposing teeth, the tooth could erupt and the final restoration may need multiple adjustments.
  • If the temporary is for a bridge, the temporary must include the pontic to splint the preparations in place during the bridge fabrication. Without splinting, the bridge may rock or not fit at all.
  • There are times when large, difficult cases need to be reviewed for accuracy and should be tried in prior to case completion. This will require extra steps and an additional appointment for the patient. However, extra steps and additional time are far less severe than having the case fail. We’ve listed additional techniques for success in the Technical Advice section.

Tip #7: Ask us.

A dental restoration is its own form of art. Despite all of the detailed case planning and case communication tools used by both the dentist and the lab, the final outcome is still very subjective. That’s why our staff is always standing by, to quickly and accurately make any necessary adjustments for a successful case outcome.

We invite you to work directly with our staff to create and adjust your case preferences. We believe that by working together, we can continually improve the quality of your restoration. As your lab partner, we provide you with excellent service and quality products — all of which translates into happier patients for you.