Implant specialist and CDT Alex Rugh explains how Encode healing abutments from Zimmer Biomet can be used as an impression coping or scan body. Alex explains how these abutments are used and how to interpret their markings.

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Encode abutments from Zimmer Biomet are a type of healing abutment that have markings, or codes, on the top that make it possible to use them in place of an impression coping or scan body.

These abutments were initially just for the 3i Certain® and external hex implants but just recently Zimmer Biomet announced that they are now available for the Zimmer TSV implants as well.

One of the biggest advantages to the encode abutments is that once they are placed they don’t need to be removed for the impression which saves times and helps to preserve the tissue.

The impression is taken directly over the encode abutment and can be done traditionally or with an intra-oral scanner. If you use an intraoral scanner the lab will import the STL file directly in to the design software and if you take a traditional impression, the impression will be scanned by the lab to create a digital file.

The lab then uses the codes on the top of the abutment to determine the system and size of the implant as well as its rotation.

The narrow slots in the middle of the encode abutment are what tells us what implant system it is. The TSV abutments have three slots, the certain abutments have two slots, and the external hex abutments have no slots.

The bigger notches on the abutment are what tells us the size of the implant. We use these notches to match the abutment up with the library version in our software. This allows us to design an abutment on the virtual analog as well as to mill or print a physical model with an analog in place.

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