A Novel Method for Digital Reconstruction of the Mucogingival Borderline in Optical Scans of Dental Plaster Casts
Adequate soft-tissue dimensions have been shown to be crucial for the long-term success of dental implants. To date, there is evidence that placement of dental implants should only be conducted in an area covered with attached gingiva. Modern implant planning software does not visualize soft-tissue dimensions. This study aims to calculate the course of the mucogingival borderline (MG-BL) using statistical shape models (SSM). Visualization of the MG-BL allows the practitioner to consider the soft tissue supply during implant planning. To deploy an SSM of the MG-BL, healthy individuals were examined and the intra-oral anatomy was captured using an intra-oral scanner (IOS). The empirical anatomical data was superimposed and analyzed by principal component analysis. Using a Leave-One-Out Cross Validation (LOOCV), the prediction of the SSM was compared with the original anatomy extracted from IOS. The median error for MG-BL reconstruction was 1.06 mm (0.49–2.15 mm) and 0.81 mm (0.38–1.54 mm) for the maxilla and mandible, respectively. While this method forgoes any technical work or additional patient examination, it represents an effective and digital method for the depiction of soft-tissue dimensions. To achieve clinical applicability, a higher number of datasets has to be implemented in the SSM.