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What Are Dental Impressions?

Dentistry techniques are continually being modified and improved upon as advancements are made in the industry. One of the most recent improvements is the method used for taking impressions of the teeth. Conventional impression systems consist of the patient sitting in the dentist’s chair with an uncomfortable tray of putty in his or her mouth. Digital impressions are quickly replacing this traditional method, and they offer the patient a more pleasant experience.

A dentist takes impressions of a patient’s teeth in order to record and review the shape and size of the area to be worked on. Impressions are taken prior to surgeries, crown implanting, and other dental procedures that involve the shifting or correcting of the teeth. In the past, patients were required to sit with trays of sticky putty in their mouths long enough for the putty to harden. Once the putty set, the impressions went to a lab for review.

A digital impression is an advanced alternative to putty impressions. Rather than use a tray of messy putty to mold around the teeth, the dentist moves a wand around the mouth. Continuous digital images are taken during the process. The entire procedure lasts a couple minutes. Once the images of the mouth are captured, they are reviewed immediately for accuracy. The digital pictures go to a lab where the physical model is fabricated.

There are numerous advantages to using digital impressions over conventional methods. In treatments that involve the small spaces between the teeth and gums, digital impressions provide accurate imaging. This allows for a better restoration and reduces errors. Digital impressions are also beneficial for patients who have gag reflex issues and cannot handle the traditional putty and tray method.

The use of digital impressions offers dentists a more precise and detailed scan of the teeth and the area to be worked on. The advanced technology also improves communications between the dentist and dental lab. Productivity is increased as well, because the turnaround time is faster with digital impressions. Digital impressions allow a patient to experience a more comfortable, quicker, and convenient encounter with the dentist.