Digital Impressions in dentistry explained

Digital Impressions

WHY DOES DR MAHER USE DIGITAL IMPRESSIONS?

Digital impressions provide Dr Maher with a virtual model of your mouth using special scanning tools (intraoral scanners). These digital dental impressions can be used to make clear and highly accurate prosthetics such as dentures, partial dentures, implants and bridges that often look, fit and work better than traditional methods.

Unlike a cast that is then disposed of after use, Dr Maher can retain your digital impression allowing him to review it periodically and compare it to your mouths current state, ensuring that any changes are carefully considered and any new conditions are cared for.

WHAT ARE DIGITAL DENTAL IMPRESSIONS?

You may have heard of 3D intraoral scanning. What is it? This is the latest technology used to capture a replica of the inside of your mouth. A wand-like tool that is connected to a computer and advanced software is utilised by your dentist to create virtual models of the hard and soft tissues in your mouth. These virtual models are known as digital dental impressions. Digital dental impressions can be used to make clear and highly accurate prosthetics such as dentures, partial dentures, implants and bridges. 


A map of your teeth is created allowing you and your dentist to view your teeth on a computer screen. This is far superior to attempting to use a mirror to look into your mouth or just looking at an X-ray.

WHY DO DENTISTS USE DIGITAL IMPRESSIONS?

If you’ve ever had braces, a crown, veneer, bridge or an implant, you know how unpleasant the odd-tasting, often gag-inducing, goopy alginate impression material (“putty”) is. This material is also susceptible to shrinkage and user error. Digital impressions is an accurate alternative to traditional impressions with the help of modern technology.


Digital impressions allow dentists to gather all the information they need about your mouth with high accuracy to create your crown, bridge, retainer, or other dental appliance or treatment as well as keeping track of your overall oral health. 

ARE DIGITAL IMPRESSIONS BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL IMPRESSIONS?

The virtual replicas created using digital impressions technology are significantly more accurate than a mould made from traditional casting methods and can be used for a variety of needs. After taking a 3D intraoral scan of the mouth, a dentist can immediately send the digital impression to a lab where dentures, crowns, bridges, and retainers can be made quickly and accurately.


Have you ever had to re-do an impression because the first impression was not acceptable? Traditional impression-taking potentially involves multiple materials and occasionally more steps. Because this is a highly delicate and skilled process, it is easier to introduce error throughout any of the numerous steps involved, either from the human error, or material inaccuracies / defects such as voids, air bubbles, or improper setting or distortions. 


Other advantages of digital impressions over traditional impressions are that they:

 

  • Are less time consuming, reducing your sitting time (a scan of the teeth being restored, as well as the opposing teeth and bite, can be completed in just three to five minutes!)

  • Provide greater time savings, not just in the impression appointment but also in the delivery of the restorations;

  • Are less messy

  • Are tasteless

  • Are an easier process

  • Offer a more pleasant / comfortable experience (particularly for patients who have anxiety, have sensitive teeth, have a gag reflex 

  • Eliminate the issue of shrinkage in moulds

  • Eliminate the possibility of human error in casting methods;

  • Allow dentists to identify inaccuracies in completed scans immediately (this, therefore, eliminates the need for further appointments to retake moulds).

In short, digital impressions can greatly increase not only your patient experience, but also the productivity, efficiency, and accuracy of your dental treatment.

Want highly accurate implants or dentures?

Not all dental practices have the technology required to create digital impressions. At Royal Crown Family Dental, we've invested in the latest technology to ensure you have the best possible experience both in the practice and after you leave! With prosthetics such as implants and dentures that will fit well and look natural. Make an appointment with us today through our online booking system or by giving us a call!

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR GETTING A DIGITAL IMPRESSION?

Using a special 3D Intraoral scanner which is a wand-like tool, Dr Maher will slowly run the scanner across and around the inside of your mouth. To see the process in action, you can see the following video:

IF DIGITAL IMPRESSIONS ARE SO MUCH BETTER, WHY DON'T ALL DENTISTS USE THEM?

That's a great question! A lot of it comes down to what dentists are comfortable with using or what they are used to. Another consideration is that the state-of-the-art equipment requires a large financial investment for a dental practice and the technology also requires new training. Passionate about patient care and providing the best possible oral health outcomes, Dr Maher took the leap and invested in this incredible technology.


We have found that patients tend to appreciate newer technologies and state-of-the-art dental care, so they become more engaged in, and better informed about, the treatment process because they can see their impressions on-screen chairside. Patients now have an opportunity to see in detail what’s going on in their own mouths and to participate in their treatment plans.


We love digital impressions partly because they can be stored electronically indefinitely, which saves us space, contributes to efficient recordkeeping and supports a paper-free environment. Green dentistry is a new concept that we are excited to partake in! With eco-friendly aspects that include eliminating the need for disposable plastic trays and impression materials, which otherwise would be polluting landfill space; digital data can also be eliminated with a simple click of the “delete” button.

A minor drawback of using digital impressions is that only certain labs can deal with the digitally-produced impressions. Their specialised nature means that there are more labs that can process physical moulds than there are labs that can use the imagery to create highly accurate prosthetics. However, in most instances, the prosthetics can be fabricated faster (and more accurately) due to the elimination of the working time required with traditional materials, such as stone, and shipping times.


It is expected that digital impressions will be the new standard and preferred option in the future, with its current high-cost dental practices being the main reason they aren’t currently universally implemented. If you are looking for a dental practice in Wentworth Point which utilises 3D intraoral scanners, get in touch with us at Royal Crown Family Dental today. 

WHY SHOULD. ISEE A DENTIST THAT CAN DO DIGITAL IMPRESSIONS OVER THOSE THAT USE TRADITIONAL METHODS?

Digital impressions provide many benefits for patients. This is especially in the case of children or patients with dentophobia or patients who are on the autism spectrum who might experience anxiousness or hypersensitivity. Patients with a strong gag reflex may struggle with the traditional impression method, as may those who have some form of TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Although the putty used may not be strongly flavoured, it may prove to be too much for some patients, so dentists might be faced with patients who are gagging or throwing up while the goopy putty sets.


In the course of prioritising your oral health, you may require a dental impression at some point in time. Dental impressions may be needed for a variety of treatments that fall under general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, or restorative procedures. 
If you are planning to undergo procedures that might need a dental impression, we suggest considering the cutting-edge technology that is digital impressions! Why should you try digital impressions over traditional methods? Because they:

 

  • Completely avoid traditional impression materials

  • Are completely safe

  • Provide for a less anxious experience

  • Require less sitting / waiting time for patients, which in turn saves you time

  • Are more comfortable for patients as they don't need to (1) keep their mouths open or (2) hold in a cast for a period of time;

  • Offer a no mess, no taste, no smell alternative

  • Provide a more comprehensive way to look at your teeth and jaw to see the larger picture or your entire head and complete oral health

  • Can allow a dentist to see your entire jaw in real-time and move and magnify the image on the screen to inspect from different angles;

  • Offer improved image / impression quality for better-fitting restorative solutions

  • Produce more accurate prosthetics that require less rework. This precision ensures that the prosthetics are more comfortable for the patient

  • Provides for fewer instances of user error in taking impressions, as well as material inaccuracies meaning fewer restoration mistakes