Digital Dental ScannersDo you hate the idea of having messy and uncomfortable dental impressions? You are not alone! Lots of people find it difficult to tolerate ordinary tray impressions where a soft impression material is placed in the tray and which is then fitted in your mouth and left to set. Although it only takes a few minutes for the impression material to harden, it can seem like a lifetime for some people. A good dental impression is necessary, so your new dental restoration can be accurately fabricated but thankfully, here at Ivory Dental Care in Sandpoint Idaho, old-fashioned impression trays are a thing of the past. Our dental office is equipped with advanced scanning technology, so we can take digital impressions of your teeth. If you need a new crown, then your tooth preparation can be digitally scanned to create a 3-D impression. Dr. Hull will also take digital impressions if you need other types of restorations including dental bridges, veneers and porcelain fillings, called inlays and onlays. If you have dental implants, then we can digitally scan them when creating your implant-supported restorations.

What Is a Digital Impression Scanner?

A digital impression scanner uses cutting-edge technology to create a computerized image of your mouth. With a digital scanner, we can accurately replicate your hard and soft tissues which are your teeth and gums. To take a digital impression, our dentist Dr. Benjamin Hull will first prepare your tooth in the conventional manner, using dental anesthetic to ensure you feel completely comfortable. From then on, the procedure is very different as instead of using a conventional tray impression, Dr. Hull will use a tiny, handheld digital scanner which will take a series of computerized images of your teeth. Scanning is quick and hygienic, and all we need do is to ensure your teeth are perfectly dry before scanning your mouth. We have the Trios scanner which is amazingly advanced, capturing thousands of frames per second. Using this technology, we can create a 3-D visualization of your mouth which you will see on the computer screen in the treatment room in a matter of just a few minutes.

What are the Main Advantages of Digital Scanners in Dentistry?

One of the main advantages is, of course, patient comfort. It is important to us that you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible during any treatment needed. We know this is often difficult for people who struggle with conventional impressions and especially for patients with a strong gag reflex. Ivory Dental Care much prefers digital dental impressions because they are highly accurate which helps to ensure the final dental restoration is well-fitting. A properly fitting, precision-made restoration looks and feels better, and it protects the tooth, ensuring disease-causing bacteria are more effectively prevented from entering the tooth.

Another reason why we prefer to take digital dental impressions is that Dr. Hull can immediately check the quality of the impression screen and while you are still seated comfortably in the dental chair. If any alterations are needed, then it’s easy to do so. With this technology, Dr. Hull can even enlarge and magnify certain sections of the digital impression and can check to ensure there is sufficient space for the new restoration to be properly made, making sure that it will look great and feel comfortable, and will be fully functional. If needed, Dr. Hull can adjust your tooth preparation and can retake the impression before it is emailed to the dental laboratory.

With a digital impression, any risk of distortion in the impression tray is eliminated. Distortions can sometimes happen when a patient inadvertently moves their mouth while the impression material is setting and when this happens then there is no choice but to retake the impression. Sometimes any imperfections aren’t picked up until the impression is sent to the lab which can mean a second patient appointment just to retake the impression. Digital impressions are much more efficient!

It’s this sort of attention to detail that helps provide you with a high-quality restoration. We also find patients are quite interested in seeing the scan of their mouth. Once Dr. Hull is completely happy with the digital impression then the file is sent to the dental laboratory. This is quicker than having to send a physical impression.

What Happens Once the Dental Laboratory Receives the Digital File?

Once the dental laboratory receives the digital file of your impression then a digital model is created, and your new restoration can be fabricated to Dr. Hull’s exact prescription. Depending on the restoration required, it might not even be necessary to make a conventional plaster model of your teeth. Instead, all the work is conducted digitally as your restoration is designed and made using advanced CADCAM technology. This type of file is particularly advantageous when making the very latest all-ceramic crowns.

Yet another advantage of digital scanners is that they are very eco-friendly. With conventional tray impressions, there is often quite a lot of waste. Mouth trays are often disposable because this is more hygienic, and subsequently the mouth trays and impression materials will end up in the landfill. Digital dental impressions are very easy to store and can remain on file for years. They can quickly be retrieved if we need to compare the digital model of your mouth to a newer impression. These digital files can be sent to other dental specialists if a second opinion is needed. We particularly like digital files because they don’t take up any space in the dental office and are very easy to find as they will be securely stored on our computer.

If you haven’t had a digital impression before then we are sure you will notice the difference straight away. Not every dental office has invested in this newer technology just yet, but it is becoming far more popular, certainly amongst our patients who have already experienced its benefits. The next time you need a new restoration then you need no longer fear having a conventional tray impression. Instead, you can look forward to receiving a far more comfortable and high-tech solution that helps us to provide you with beautiful and precisely fitting restorations.