Digital Dental Impressions

In years gone by, having a dental crown made could be an unpleasant procedure involving having impressions taken of your teeth so that molds could be made. Your dental professional would fill a tray with a goopy substance, insert the tray into your mouth, and then instruct you to close your mouth while the whole mess hardened partially – not much fun at all! Then, the impression would be sent to a dental lab, where the mold and model would be created so that the new crown could be made.

Thankfully, 21st century technology has led to this method being replaced with “virtual” models – the tools are no longer trays and goop, but digital cameras and reflective dust.

How it works

The first part of the restoration process hasn’t changed much over the years – this is because in order to prepare your tooth for a crown, any existing decay has to be removed, and the tooth has to be shaped. So you’ll have to undergo the same process of numbing and drilling that you always did. Once the tooth is properly prepared, the reflective dust is applied to the area, and a scanning wand is used to record several images of the surface of the tooth. This wand is then connected to a computer, and the images are combined to create a 3D image of the tooth.

Using blue wavelength light, the fissures and depressed areas of your tooth can be captured with such precision that incredible accuracy is possible when the 3D model is created. We can instantly look at a tooth and examine your bite. Additionally, we can identify any areas that are going to need further prep work for veneers, fillings or crowns, do the work, and then re-scan the teeth so that a whole new series of images and 3D models can be created.

Once we (and you) are satisfied with the images and the preparation, your images are sent to the lab so that your crown can be fabricated. This way, we can accomplish often in a single visit a procedure that used to require several appointments.

Benefits

  • You don’t have to worry about the discomfort and unpleasant taste you experienced with the old “goop in a tray” method of taking dental impressions.
  • We can tell immediately if your tooth has been properly prepared for restoration.
  • You no longer have to book multiple appointments.
  • Essentially, this method is less uncomfortable and takes considerably less time than traditional methods.

Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.