Digital impressions represent cutting edge technology that allow dentists to create a virtual, computer-generated replica of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth using lasers and other optical scanning devices. The digital technology captures clear and highly accurate impression data in about two minutes, without the need for traditional impression materials.
With a digital impresssion system, Dr. Perez or dental assistant captures an image of a prepared tooth or teeth. The digital impression 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. Digital impression systems use a chairside monitor to display the impression image as it is captured. It takes approximately two minutes to capture a digital impression of a prepared tooth or teeth. The impression information is then transferred to a computer and used to create the final crown or bridge.
Benefits of Digital Impressions
Digital optical impressions significantly increase efficiency, productivity and accuracy, and make it possible for dentists to e-mail the virtual impression 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 chair time
- 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 tend to appreciate the new technology 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.
- The digital impression can be stored electronically indefinitely, which saves space, contributes to efficient recordkeeping, 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.