Digital impressions represent cutting-edge technology that allows 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 mere minutes, without the need for traditional impression materials that some patients find inconvenient and messy.
Digital impressing also eliminates much of the labor and guesswork associated with traditional impressions and greatly reduces or eliminates errors. Simultaneously they increase time savings, both during and the impression appointment and delivery of the restorations.
Advantages of Digital Impressions:
- Eliminates the need for a return visit to the office since restoration can be made in the dental office.
- Indicates in color areas of inadequate tooth reduction which allows dentists to modify and ensure proposed restorations fit comfortably and function properly.
- Additional scans can be layered for enhanced visual representation
- The more scans that are added, the more accurate the virtual model
The digital impressions typically are captured using an intraoral wand that is inserted in 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. It takes approximately a minute and a half to capture a digital impression of prepared teeth. An impression of the teeth in the opposite arch takes just 45 seconds.
As the dentist reviews the electronic real-time image, he or she 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 the dental lab or in office CAD/CAM system.
In cases where the restoration is not considered cosmetic in nature, the cost of digital impressioning may be covered under some dental insurance plans or out-of-pocket deduction programs. Please check with your insurer or dental office for specifics in your particular case.