We’ve all been there. You’ve finally decided to get that smile you’ve always wanted. Your journey may involve braces or clear aligners, or perhaps some long-needed restoration like a crown or veneers. Or maybe both.
Now that you’ve committed, you just want to get started. You make your appointment and one of the first things your provider needs to do is take a dental impression.
You heard the stories from your friends about the putty-like material used — the smell, the taste, the five or so minute wait for it to set that feels like an eternity, and then the awkward tug of war when your provider needs to pull the set mold from your mouth.
All you can think is: Isn’t there a better way? Actually yes, says Dr. Jean Seibold McGill at McGill Orthodontics in Easton and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Think digital impressions.
Let’s get started by first doing a deep dive into digital impressions. You’re probably familiar with medical scanning diagnostics like MRIs and ultrasounds. Digital technology for use in dental care is similar, but in the case of digital dental impressions, the procedure is used as a mapping strategy as opposed to a diagnostic tool.
Specifically, a digital impression is a way to take an optical scan of your mouth to collect specific data about the precise location, size, and shape of your teeth, as well as the placement of your gums, soft tissue, and bones.
Our team uses the data recorded to create a custom restoration like a crown or veneers or to inform an orthodontic treatment plan. Here at McGill Orthodontics, we use digital impressions to fabricate clear aligners or custom braces.
Digital impressions have numerous advantages over traditional putty-like dental molds, especially when it comes to patient convenience and comfort. With digital impressions, your orthodontist maps out your mouth by inserting a small hand-held device or wand and gently moving the wand over the surface of your anticipated treatment area.
With digital impressions, you can kick that goopy, yucky putty material to the curb. There’s no waiting for it to set, and you won’t have to deal with the awkward tugging process of removing the set mold from your mouth. With digital impressions, all you have to do is sit back and relax.
Similarly, without the muss and fuss of traditional molds, patients with a strong gag reflex or who have a fear of choking can forget about the stress and fear that traditional molds can create. Typically, your orthodontist can do a digital impression in less than 15 minutes. You can use the time to imagine how great your new smile will look. Sounds like a win-win!
If you’ve gone through the traditional dental mold process, you’re all too aware that mistakes can happen; and if a full area or tooth isn’t properly captured, you’ll need to go through the whole goopy process again. Not so with digital impressions.
Since dental impressions are done in real time, and since your orthodontist can view your scan immediately on a monitor, any hiccups or errors in your scan can immediately be resolved.
Your orthodontist can carefully check your image by enlarging the scan to ensure that your entire mouth was accurately captured and mapped out. This nuance makes digital impressions more expeditious and efficient in comparison to traditional impressions.
But the efficiency of the process doesn’t stop there. Because digital technology is at the heart of the whole process, your dental provider sends the data captured electronically to the dental laboratory or in-office system which ultimately fabricates your clear aligners or custom braces. No snail mail delays required.
If you’d like to learn more about digital impressions or want to get started on your journey to your dream smile, contact McGill Orthodontics today. Call our office most convenient to you or request your appointment online.