Advancements in Dental Impressions

3D intraoral scanning technology can quickly and accurately create a digital model of the mouth.

Understanding Dental Impressions

Dental impressions are a replica of the patient’s mouth, which is used to examine its status and create custom restoration pieces, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, and retainers. Traditionally, dental impressions are obtained by creating a physical mold of the patient’s teeth using a putty-like material.

New Solutions

Advancing technology has introduced digital methods of capturing dental impressions, which deliver results with speed and accuracy. Digital impressions require less materials and steps than molds – this increases efficiency and reduces the possibility of error.

What to Expect

When capturing a digital impression, the dentist will move a wand-like tool connected to a computer over the surface of the teeth to create a virtual model of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth. This quick and painless process is completed in only three to five minutes.

Benefits to Patients

Digital impressions offer a more pleasant experience than using a mold, as the putty can cause discomfort to patients with severe gag reflexes or tooth sensitivity. The 3D intraoral scanning technology creates a more detailed and accurate image of the mouth and therefore better-fitting dental restorations. Because digital impressions are sent to the laboratory electronically, these restorations can even be completed the same day as the impression, eliminating the need for a return visit to the office.

An Expert Weighs In

“I remember as a little girl how nervous I would get over having impressions taken at the dentist or orthodontist. I’d worry, ‘What if I gag? What if it goes down my throat? What if it’s all over my face when I leave?’ It’s very vivid in my memory. I frequently get the question, ‘Do I have to get impressions?’ Fortunately, I can now say with a smile, ‘Absolutely not!’ The look of relief on the person’s face is priceless. So many aspects of dentistry have evolved over the years, and one of the most routine things we do now is take a digital impression or scan of the dentition. This provides a wealth of information for us as practitioners, but also the patient as we can, in real time, show them what each of their teeth looks like. This is a great learning tool as they can see on a screen right in front of them the state of their oral condition and have a clear understanding of their treatment needs. No more gooey impressions – let’s celebrate!”

Get access to the next issue before it hits the stands!