Digital versus conventional surgical guide fabrication: A randomized crossover study on operator preference, difficulty, effectiveness, and operating time

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AIM: If surgical guide fabrication is introduced in a dental education program, a digital and conventional workflow can be used. This study evaluated operator preference, perceived difficulty and effectiveness and operating time of both fabrication methods.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty participants in a university setting (students, n = 20; dentists, n = 20) with varying levels of dental experience, but no experience in surgical guide fabrication, were randomly assigned to consecutively fabricate surgical guides on a standardized training model, with either the digital or conventional workflow first. The operating time was measured, and operator preference and the perception of difficulty and effectiveness were assessed with a questionnaire. T tests were used for statistical analysis (α = .05).

RESULT: Of the students, 95% preferred the digital workflow and of the dentists 70%. The perceived difficulty of the digital workflow was significantly lower than the conventional workflow in the student group. Both groups perceived the digital workflow to be more effective. The mean operating time (mm:ss) amounted 12:34 ± 2:24 (students) and 18:07 ± 6:03 (dentists) for the digital, and 22:20 ± 3:59 (students) and 20:16 ± 4:03 (dentists) for the conventional workflow.

CONCLUSION: Both students and dentists prefer the digital workflow for surgical guide fabrication. Students perceive the digital workflow as less difficult and more effective than the conventional workflow. The operating time for surgical guide fabrication is shorter with a digital workflow. This study indicates that digital fabrication techniques for surgical guides are preferred to be incorporated into the dental curriculum to teach students about treatment planning in implant dentistry.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere831
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and experimental dental research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2024


  • Humans
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Crowns
  • Students
  • Workflow

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