The purpose of this study was to compare three-dimensional laser digitizing with subjective evaluations of wear in posterior resin-based composite restorations during a 24-month period. Background. The authors describe an indirect method of analyzing wear in resin-based composite restorations. A computer-driven laser was used to scan stone casts of restorations and create three-dimensional computerized surface models of the teeth. A standard computer algorithm was used to superimpose the follow-up model images over the baseline model images and to calculate the amount of wear within 10 micrometers. Methods. Patients were selected whose treatment plans required a Class II restoration. A total of 100 restorations were inserted at baseline and evaluated at six months, 12 months and 24 months. Polyether quadrant impressions were taken and casts were made. Twenty-one casts were selected for the three-dimensional laser digitizing technique. The same casts were evaluated via subjective evaluations using sets of 18 calibrated standard models, following the method developed by Leinfelder. Results. Statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon test revealed significant differences (P < .01) between subjective wear evaluation and the three-dimensional laser digitizing wear analysis. Conclusion. The normalized three-dimensional laser digitizing technique is significantly more effective than subjective evaluations in establishing restoration wear rates.
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