Having impressions made is one of the first steps in orthodontic treatment and one of the most critical. That’s because your impressions serve as molds or models of your teeth, helping your orthodontist map out your treatment based on your unique needs.
Not too long ago, getting impressions meant biting down on trays stuffed with sticky, gooey, plaster-like material. But with digital impressions, you can skip the trays of putty, relying on a simple scan made by a special computer wand.
As a leading orthodontics practice in Cedar Park, Texas, Freedom Orthodontics is committed to offering the most advanced, patient-friendly technology for optimal comfort and results. In this post, learn four reasons Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and our team rely on digital impressions for our patients’ treatment.
1. Better patient experience
Traditional impressions use thick putty to capture the contours of your teeth. The putty fills a hard-sided plastic tray that’s placed in your mouth.
You bite down on the tray and hold the bite for a period of time while the putty begins to harden. Then, the tray is removed, leaving a hardened impression of your teeth. These impressions can be filled with plaster to create a 3D model that helps guide your treatment.
Not surprisingly, biting down on a large tray filled with putty can be fairly uncomfortable, especially if you’re prone to gagging. Digital impressions eliminate the need for trays and putty, instead relying on a small intraoral scanner that captures highly detailed data about your teeth in just a few moments with absolutely no discomfort — and no putty residue or unpleasant taste either.
2. More accurate treatment planning
Digital impressions use advanced technology to map out even the tiniest contours of each tooth, in addition to providing details about your overall bite. In fact, research shows digital impressions provide far more detail and are far more accurate than traditional putty-based impressions.
Since your treatment plan begins with those all-important impressions, it’s not surprising that even small inaccuracies can result in significant issues during your treatment. Bubbles in the putty, poorly poured casts, uneven hardening time, and even tiny patient movements can all influence the end result of a putty impression, while digital impressions are unaffected.
Digital impressions aren’t just more accurate — they also allow computer modeling to show how treatment will move your teeth over time. This feature allows Dr. Smith to try out different approaches to ensure your treatment is as quick and precise as possible.
3. Improved collaboration
Because digital impressions are stored on a computer, it’s easy for Dr. Smith to share your impressions with your dentist or other oral care providers. That makes it easier to collaborate during your treatment, so you can maintain your healthiest smile.
Plus, digital impressions can be shared immediately with the lab that fabricates your braces or aligners. This means your orthodontic appliances can be made right away, so you can begin your treatment — and complete it — even faster.
4. Better for the environment
Old-fashioned impressions used a lot of material to make the impression itself. And, once treatment was over, that material ended up in a landfill.
With digital impressions, there’s no material to get rid of and no impact on landfills. Plus, your images can be stored indefinitely in case you have additional needs in the future (like a broken retainer or other oral health issues that benefit from a review of your complete treatment history).
Digital impressions are just one way Dr. Smith and his team provide optimal care for each patient. To learn more about digital impressions or to find out how orthodontic treatment can help you, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.