A modern dentist demonstrates high-tech, digital dentistry

by | April 28, 2023 | TMJ4 Morning Blend

In recent years, there have been major advancements in digital dentistry including the use of intraoral scanners. Digital dentistry is improving both the accuracy of dentistry, as well as patient comfort. If you dislike the goopy, bulky, traditional impressions, our new intraoral scanner will be especially appealing to you!

Most people are familiar with conventional impressions from orthodontics, crowns, or other dental work. Impressions take a negative model of your teeth, which is poured using a plaster-like material. Once the stone is set, there is an exact replica of your mouth. Although this can be very accurate, there is more room for error and it takes longer than digital impressions. Conventional impressions also require the patient to have the impression material in their mouth for 2-3 minutes, which most people do not find appealing.

A major advancement in digital dentistry is the introduction of an intraoral scanner and digital impressions. An intraoral scanner is a new tool that takes thousands of photos to recreate the mouth and the tooth in three dimensions.

The device uses a light and mirror to take the photos, and then the images are processed by software that stitches all of the pictures together into a digital impression. Once the scan is taken, it is sent digitally to the lab and they can 3D-print the model. This allows our lab to begin work on the case that very same day!

Although traditional impressions have worked well for decades, there are some advantages of digital impressions using an intraoral scanner. A significant benefit is patient comfort. Most people do not like the conventional impression material due to its bulky consistency. Another main benefit is the increased accuracy and increased speed with which the lab can fabricate a restoration. Intraoral scanners are also exceptional tools for patient education since we can review the 3D image together.

Many items can be made using the new intraoral scanner, though conventional impressions are still important tools for some circumstances as well. Crowns, night guards, bridges, clear aligners, implants, and many other restorations can be made with digital impressions. However, some treatments still require conventional impressions. People that are missing all or a lot of teeth will still need conventional impressions to fabricate dentures or partials. If an appliance is made in-house, such as whitening trays or a sports guard, then we take a standard impression to make the appliance faster and less expensive than the lab.

There are many new advancements in dentistry, including the use of intraoral scanners and digital impressions. The intraoral scanner allows extremely accurate and precise models of your mouth while allowing the most comfortable and quick dental visits.

High-tech dentistry: TMJ4's Andrea Boehlke with Milwaukee dentist Hannah Draver

The video segment above featuring Milwaukee dentist Dr. Hannah Draver and TMJ4 correspondent Andrea Boehlke aired on April 28, 2023, during The Morning Blend on Milwaukee’s TMJ4.