Santa Teresa Dental believes in utilizing the latest in dental technology to best serve our patients. We have incorporated a digital scanner which take digital impressions into our daily practice.
What is a digital impression?
A digital impression is a virtual, computer-generated replica of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth using lasers and other optical scanning devices. A digital scanner captures clear and highly accurate impression data in mere minutes, without the need for traditional impression materials that some patients find inconvenient and messy.
Many patients find digital impressions an easier and more comfortable procedure because traditional impression materials are avoided. The impression information then is transferred to a computer and used to create restorations, often without the need for stone models.
What are the benefits of digital impressions?
Digital optical impressions significantly increase efficiency, productivity and accuracy, and make it possible for Dr. Huang to submit the virtual impression via a secured web portal to the laboratory, rather than send a traditional impression or stone model via regular mail.
Other benefits of digital impressions include:
- Improved image/impression quality for better-fitting restorations
- Less time in dentist’s chair.
- No need for distasteful impression materials that cause some patients to gag.
- More comfortable, less anxious experience for patients.
- Reduced possibility of impression-taking errors and elimination of material inaccuracies for fewer restoration mistakes.
- Patients are better informed about the treatment process because they can see their impressions on-screen chairside.
- The scan of the teeth or arch being restored, as well as the opposing teeth and bite, can be completed in just three to five minutes.
- The digital impression can be stored electronically indefinitely, which saves space, contributes to efficient record keeping, and supports a paper-free environment.
- Green dentistry and eco-friendly aspects include eliminating the need for disposable plastic trays and impression materials, which otherwise would be polluting landfill space; digital data is eliminated with the “delete” button.
What is involved in the digital impression procedure?
With a digital impression system, Dr. Huang or the assistant captures an image of a tooth/teeth preparation or a whole arch. A 3-D image of the teeth and gum appears on the computer screen. The digital impression typically is captured using an intraoral wand that is inserted into the patient’s mouth and moved over the surface area of the tooth or teeth. Most digital impression systems use a chairside monitor to display the impression image as it is captured.
As Dr. Huang reviews the electronic real-time image, he can enlarge and manipulate it for enhanced detail to ensure that any possible mistakes are identified and corrected onscreen before sending the digital impression electronically to our dental laboratory.