Dental impressions are computer-generated replicas of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth, created using optical scanning technology in minutes.
This advanced technology captures clear and highly accurate impression data without the use of traditional impression materials that many patients dislike. For this same reason, most patients find digital impressions a far easier procedure. The impression data is then sent to a computer, where it’s used to create restorations, without the use of stone models.
Currently, there are two variants of digital impression technology currently available.
The first type involves capturing video footage of the patient’s mouth for impressions, while the second takes images as digital photographs, providing dental laboratories with a series of images to be used in creating an impression.
Not only do these two methods eliminate the need for patients to hold unpleasant material in their mouth, it captures all the details of the patient’s teeth and gums in real time.
Digital impressions boost efficiency, productivity, and accuracy. Digital impressions also allow the production of same-day dental restorations, saving time and reducing the need for many office visits. This is because dentists can simply email a digital impression to the laboratory rather than sending a real impression or stone model through regular mail.
Other benefits of digital impressions include:
- A more comfortable and less anxious experience.
- Less time in the dentist’s chair.
- The patients’ experience is better as they don’t need to be subjected to repulsive impressions that induce a gag reflex.
- Improved image/impression quality for better-fitting restorations.
- Reduced possibility of impression-taking errors and elimination of material inaccuracies, resulting in fewer restoration mistakes.
- Patients are more interested in, and knowledgeable about, the treatment process as a result of seeing their impressions on-screen.
- In just five minutes, the restoration of teeth can be completed.
- Dentistry that is more sustainable, eco friendly and environmentally responsible, as it eliminates the need for disposable plastic trays and impression materials.
Multiple materials and possibly more stages are required when creating an impression. Because this is a highly technical process, it is more prone to error at every stage, whether they’re due to human error or material flaws such as voids, air bubbles, or misaligned settings.
In contrast to traditional impressions, digital dental impression machines reduce or eliminate errors and much of the uncertainty. Simultaneously, they decrease turnaround times dramatically. They generally eliminate the need for a return trip to the dental practice, since repairs can be completed in the dentist’s office rather than being sent to a laboratory. Even if the restoration is not created in a dental office, the reduced working time and shipping times mean that it can be made faster.
Dental impressions mean that impressions with materials in the mouth for upwards of five minutes using conventional methods are not necessary. Many patients have benefited from this innovative technique, allowing them to get dental care that they may otherwise have avoided in order to avoid the use of traditional impressions which may induce claustrophobia or gagging.
Traditionally, dentists made use of visual examinations (usually with loupes) to determine whether impressions are ready to go to the lab after a physical impression. As traditional impressions are recorded in the negative, it is more difficult to identify mistakes. The dentist will need to make another impression if mistakes are discovered, resulting in a repeat of the impression procedure, greater inconvenience, and longer appointments.
On the other hand, a digital scan allows dentists to zoom in and thoroughly examine the “positive” image. Errors may be corrected immediately before sending the impression to the lab. When the final impression is scanned and the bite registration occurs, a virtually articulated model of the preparation (one showing how the upper and lower teeth come together) may be seen on the screen with digital impressioning.
The system also will show if any areas of inadequate tooth reduction are present. This allows dentists to modify the amount of tooth reduction immediately to ensure that proposed restorations will function correctly and fit comfortably.
Additional scans may be added to the original virtual model with digital impression technology for more detailed visual representation. A repeat scan to update or correct an existing image improves on the prior virtual model without introducing new mistakes, and only the previously missing data is added.
The more scans that are added, the more trustworthy the virtual model becomes; this is precisely the opposite to a traditional physical impression.
Elite Dental of Staten Island in New York offers patients the chance to access state of the art digital impression systems in their dental practice. To book an appointment with Dr Steve Acker and his team of dental professionals, please call (718) 370-1200 or click here.