The very first thing that I learned in dental school was the subject of dental impressions. My instructor told me that this is fundamental to performing dentistry.
What are Dental Impressions?
What are impressions, and why are they so important?
Many patients reference this procedure with the term “taking a mold.” Whatever you call it, the idea is the same. I take a “goopy” material and put it on a big spoon. This really big spoon is placed into our mouth and placed against our teeth. That spoon and its material stay in the mouth while the goop sets and turns into a hard rubbery substance. The length of time can vary but is usually a couple of minutes or longer. The dentist removes the big spoon with some degree of pressure and inspects the impression. An examination of the quality of the impression and its details follows its removal. If the dentist is pleased with the result, he gives his approval, and the procedure is over. If the dentist is not happy with the result, then a repeat of that impression will occur.
The Importance of Dental Impressions in Dentistry
Let me take a moment to explain why impressions are so fundamental to a dentist. If not for impressions, all the necessary dental work would occur inside the mouth. Not an ideal work environment for the dentist and very uncomfortable for the patient!
An impression allows the dentist or his team to create a duplicate or picture of your mouth. The picture is life-size and accurate to the minutest details. Replacement teeth, whether they are of the permanent variety or whether they come in and out, are easily made for the patient without his or her presence. Now we understand why the accuracy of the impression is so crucial.
I Hate Impressions! Why Patients Hate Taking Impressions
Despite their importance and benefits, many patients feel that impressions are uncomfortable, while others are bothered by them. Before the material gets hard, it flows all over the mouth. The face is a victim of excess material sticking everywhere, gagging can occur at the back of the mouth and normal breathing and swallowing is nearly impossible.
Cutting Edge Dental Digital Impressions to The Rescue!
I have great news for all of you who are not fond of dental impressions! I just introduced new digital impressions to my office!
I use a digital scanning wand to take a picture of your teeth. This wand uses a high tech computer to turn that picture into a 3D model of your teeth.
4 Patient Benefits of Digital Impressions
While the benefits are obvious to me as the dentist using this technology, here are some patient benefits this cutting edge dental technology provides.
1. No more annoying impression material!
Big spoons and goop are now a thing of the past for many procedures. Gagging does not occur. Excess material scattering all over your face is a thing of the past. During the scan, you can breathe and swallow as you normally would. Impressions are quick and accurate!
2. Permanent digital record
Unlike impressions that can get lost or are discarded after use, I have a permanent record of your mouth stored on a computer. I can look at that impression any time and anywhere if I need to evaluate some detail or if you call with a question.
3. Beneficial for multiple dental procedures
The versatility of this platform allows us to integrate its use into many daily dental procedures we perform in the office. The i-TeroTM scanner is ideal for crowns, bridges, implants, Invisalign® clear aligners, retainers and more! This means a better patient experience for you!
4. Easy integration with other dental technologies
The i-TeroTM scanner also integrates perfectly with my Invisalign patients and makes the entire process very smooth and easy.
Experience The Difference Today
If you are a traditional dental impression hater, this cutting edge technology is perfect for you.
I will spend some more time in future columns discussing some other benefits of this device, which enhances and improves the quality of your dental care. It makes me a better dentist for you!
Give Megan a call at 440.951.7856 and learn more about how I have integrated the new digital scanner into our office. I look forward to hearing from you.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.