For years, whenever you needed a dental crown (cap), your dentist had to make molds of your teeth which required taking an impression of your teeth. A tray filled with a goopy, putty-like material was used so that a three-dimensional model of the prepared tooth could be created. Using this mold, along with a dental lab, we could custom-craft the new crown.
However, as we journey further into the technology-driven 21st century, this former methodology is being replaced with virtual models — made using small, handheld “wands” that employ a digital camera and some “magic” reflective dust.
Here's how it works
The first phase of restoration, preparing the tooth surface, remains virtually the same. We must remove any dental decay and shape the remaining tooth for a crown or filling to be fitted properly. This will allow us to restore a tooth to its original shape, look, and function. Next, we lightly dust the area with a reflective material (no goopy impression material) so that we can record multiple images of your tooth's surface with our small scanning wand. Later, the computer component is connected to the scanning wand and will combine these images into a computer-generated 3D image.
This remarkable tool uses blue wavelength light so that we can precisely capture the unique nooks and crannies of your tooth's surface to make a highly accurate 3D digital model. It enables us to instantaneously examine a tooth and your bite. Another advantage of this process is that we can immediately identify any additional prep work required for new crowns, veneers and fillings; implement those changes; and rescan the tooth to create a new series of images and 3D model.
Once we are pleased with our images and prep work, we simply then send your images to the lab for fabrication. This technique will allow us to create a crown or a filling that can often be completed during a single office visit.
How this technology benefits you
- Finally, you can say goodbye to the goop, gagging, discomfort, and anxiety you've experienced in the past with traditional dental impression materials!
- It gives us the immediate ability to assess whether or not we've adequately prepared your tooth for restoration.
- This technology is ideal for fabricating restorations such as new crowns, veneers and fillings for teeth — often possible in one office visit.
- It takes less time than traditional dental impressions.
Our office uses the most state-of-the-art technology available to help create the smile you want, which is why we use the iTero® digital impression system, by Align Technology. Our digital impression system replaces the uncomfortable, unpleasant-tasting, messy and sometimes inaccurate traditional putty impressions. No bulky trays or sticky putty needed!
Using a digital scanner, we will take three-dimensional (3-D) digital images, or impressions, of your teeth and bite. These impressions will help us formulate a personalized treatment plan that meets your specific orthodontic needs and desires. We can also use them to visually show you your treatment options and help us keep you up-to-date on your treatment progress.
After your specific treatment plan has been chosen, the digital impressions allow us to create customized bracket trays that we use to place your brackets onto your teeth, all at one time, with increased efficiency and overall effectiveness.
Some benefits of iTero digital impressions over traditional putty impressions include:
- Accuracy: They capture the exact contours of your teeth.
- Efficiency: They require less time in the treatment chair.
- Comfort: Taking the digital images is less invasive. No putty is used, and patients are more at ease without fearing they will gag on the impression putty.
- Customization: They provide a digital plan and allow for trays that are tailored to meet the individual needs and desires of each patient.
- Visualization: They provide each patient with a definite picture of what their teeth will look like before, during and after orthodontic treatment.
- Innovation: They use the most advanced 3-D video technologies.