Have you ever heard of a digital dental impression? That’s right – one that doesn’t use goopy material in a large tray to take an impression of your teeth? Well, they’re here! Technology like virtual scanning allows dentists to take impressions on their patients’ teeth by using nothing other than a 3D scanning wand.
How does it work? When a patient arrives for a procedure like a same-day crown or onlay, the teeth are prepared as normal. A special material is then placed over the entire tooth, which allows it to be picked up on the scanner. The 3D imaging wand is then directed over the surfaces of the teeth and that data is transferred into the associated computer program. An exact, virtual replica of the teeth is then visible on the screen. This data can be used to send to an on-site milling machine, off-site laboratory, or other type of provider as needed. Computer software then interprets these digital impressions and allows the final device such as a crown, veneer, or even clear orthodontic braces to be made.
Patients with sensitive gag reflexes really enjoy virtual dental impressions, because it prevents them from having to place a large tray of alginate material into their mouth for a few minutes at a time. These digital impressions are also more detailed than a traditional impression, and leave much less room for error. Traditional impressions can become damaged or dried out, making the final results slightly different than your actual mouth. With a digital impression, this isn’t possible!
Digital impressions also help speed up the completion of your treatment, because it eliminates an entire step in the lab manufacturing process! Treatments can be completed sooner, and final restorations available the same day or even days sooner than before.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
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