Digital Impressions: A More Comfortable Experience for Our Patients
We know most people do not enjoy having an ordinary dental impression. At the very least, impression trays can be bulky to wear and people with a strong gag reflex frequently find them very hard to tolerate. It can be quite difficult to keep your jaws completely still while having an ordinary tray impression, as conventional materials take several minutes to properly set.
The good news is, traditional dental impressions are a thing of the past in our dental practice. By utilizing the very latest cutting-edge technology, we can take digital impressions using our intraoral scanner. With this technique, you can enjoy a far more comfortable experience, without the need for a traditional dental impression. A digital impression can be more accurate, allowing us to provide you with an even better service than before.
About Our Intraoral Scanner and How This Technology Could Help You
Our practice has an advanced 3Shape intraoral scanner. This is a small handheld device capable of taking HD quality photos inside your mouth. If we see something requiring attention in your mouth, we can display these photos on the screens in our operatory to clearly explain the problem. The images can be magnified, so you can easily see what we see and we can explain which treatments will help you and why. While this is one application for this technology, its most important purpose is for taking digital impressions for fabricating crowns, bridges and veneers, inlays and onlays.
We also use our scanner to plan orthodontic treatment using Invisalign clear aligners, digitally creating highly accurate images of your teeth that are used to create virtual 3D models. Once treatment is planned, you will be able to view these virtual images showing how your teeth will move during treatment so you can see exactly how it will help you gain the beautifully straight smile you desire and deserve. Invisalign software is aligned with 3Shape so we can directly transfer your files to Invisalign for your aligner trays to be made to our exact prescription.
What Are Digital Impressions and Why Are They Better?
With a digital impression, we use the very latest digital technology to capture high-quality images of your mouth. Our scanner takes many extremely detailed digital photographs each second, and these images are used to create incredibly accurate impression data. The experience is far easier and much more comfortable and it takes just a few minutes to take an accurate digital impression, all without the need to use a conventional, bulky impression tray.
Once we have finished scanning your mouth, the impression information is transferred to a computer and our dentist can immediately view these images, just to check your digital impression is perfect. The images can be magnified and examined in greater detail making it far easier to detect any imperfections. During this evaluation, we can check to make sure there is sufficient space for your new restoration and if necessary can adjust your tooth preparation. With a conventional tray impression, it’s much harder to tell if there is sufficient space and we do not want to remove any more tooth material than is necessary, as preserving healthy tooth structure is vitally important.
If we do need to take another digital impression then the process will be just as quick and comfortable. Once we are satisfied, the data can then be emailed to our dental laboratory and is used to fabricate precision fitting restorations.
What to Expect When Having a Digital Impression?
When you have a digital impression for a new restoration, we will still need to prepare your teeth as normal in exactly the same way as if you were having an ordinary tray impression. Once the teeth are prepared then treatment is a little different as we use a small handheld scanner to take digital, three-dimensional images of your teeth. It only takes a few minutes to comfortably complete a full digital scan. That is it!
Afterwards, our dentist will check the images on the computer screen and we often find that patients are quite interested to learn more about their dental health. If you require a porcelain crown, bridge or onlay, the scanner is used to accurately measure your tooth shade, providing our dental lab with HD photographs. These photos make it far easier for them to exactly replicate all the different shades found in natural teeth so the finished restorations will blend in beautifully with your own teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Digital Impression?
We find patients really appreciate having a digital impression as opposed to a traditional tray impression because it is so much more comfortable, but there are several other important benefits.
A digital impression can be quicker to take and if we do spot anything wrong then we can immediately retake the impression so it’s less chair time for you. Digital impressions help to eliminate inaccuracies due to fit and color that could otherwise lead to remakes and repeat
From our point of view, a digital impression helps to create higher quality, precision-made restorations because it utilizes the very latest CADCAM technology. By using a digital impression, we can ensure your new crown, bridge or inlay fits more accurately than ever before. This precision-fitted restoration protects your teeth and can shorten appointment times as we will need to spend less time on adjustments.
Digital dental impressions are eco-friendlier. There is less waste as we do not need to use impression materials or disposable plastic impression trays. With conventional impressions, these would eventually end up in the landfill. Instead, digital impressions don’t take up any space and can be indefinitely electronically stored. This is much more efficient and allows us to quickly access previous scans if we need to check anything during future appointments or if necessary we can email these scans to another dentist or to a specialist.
Not all dental practices offer digital dental impressions just yet but we felt it was important to invest in this technology to continue providing you with the very highest quality service and hopefully a more pleasant experience.