Understanding Dental Impressions
Used in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, dental impressions create an exact mold of your child’s teeth. These impressions are used to create dental models, which are necessary for generating well-fitting dental appliances like retainers following orthodontic treatment.
In the past, impressions of a patient’s teeth were always taken using a heavy molding paste that must be applied wet and remain on teeth until hardened. For children especially, that process proves unpleasant, as the paste tastes bad, hinders breathing, and often even elicits a gag response.
Today, advancements in dental technology have revolutionized the way impressions can be taken. The 3Shape Trios Intraoral Scanner is a wireless, handheld imaging device that creates precise, digital 3-D images of the teeth and gums – thousands a second! The color images can be combined to generate a complete 3-D model of the teeth in minutes. And since the scan is digital, there is little to no discomfort during the process.
How It Works
The digital scanner wand is rotated throughout the patient’s mouth and captures every intricacy of his or her teeth in a series of natural color photos. After scanning, the photos are sent to a computer that merges them to develop a full 3-D model.
That virtual 3-D model is then printed with a 3-D printer into a physical model. With that model, Essix retainers can be created. These are made of transparent plastic, which makes them much less noticeable than traditional wire retainers, and they ensure teeth remain in place following treatment.
Benefits to Patients
First and foremost, the digital scanning eliminates the discomfort associated with the older dental model solution. Beyond that, the on-site 3-D printer allows models to be created faster and more accurately, which means aligners and retainers fit better. Lastly, the 3-D dental models are durable, which means they can be used to create multiple retainers. HS