What’s one of the worst parts of any dental or orthodontics trip (aside from everything)? Having to get dental impressions done. If you’ve ever had traditional dental impressions done, you shuddered.
The cold metal or plastic and gross-tasting goop. The agonizing 2-5 minute wait for the putty to harden. All the while, you have to bite down as hard as you can while fighting your gag reflex with all your might.
All that for an impression that got wrecked by an air bubble. Meaning the whole process has to be done all over again.
The advantages of digital impressions over physical should be obvious from a patient perspective, but let’s examine them from both the dentist and patient sides.
1. More Comfortable Process
One of the biggest advantages of digital impressions over traditional ones, as illustrated in the narrative above, is the comfort factor.
Let’s face it. No one likes the taste of plastic or polyester in their mouth for five straight minutes. Even those with stalwart stomachs would start gagging at the maximum set time.
Worse, with certain dental conditions that require impression-taking to correct, the impression can get stuck in your mouth! That’s an anxiety-inducing thought.
Digital dental impressions are by far less invasive. The only thing entering your mouth as a patient is a wand moved around your mouth to stitch together images into an accurate digital rendering.
2. Save Time
Did you think the five minutes waiting for the impression putty to set was the end of it? Nope! Even after the material sets and gets pulled from your mouth, it has to get sent to the laboratory.
This often means that you can’t get your implants, crowns, braces, or other dental appliances done during the same appointment as the impression. Talk about frustrating, not to mention a waste of everyone’s time!
With digital dental impressions, the initial impression-taking only lasts 3-5 minutes. The assistant can see right away if any issues need resolving or require retakes, which lets many offices handle the actual cosmetic procedure you came there for during the same appointment.
3. Accurate Readings the First Time
You read that right. The readings produced by unpleasant, gross, invasive traditional impressions might not even be accurate.
The main reason why? Traditional impressions get captured in the negative. Photography buffs in the audience know that the negatives of an image mean the reverse of their actual coloration.
In 3D space, this means your dentist or the laboratory is examining how to fit prosthetics to your teeth by looking at the dents your teeth made, not the teeth themselves. This can also make it harder to spot when the impression has mistakes.
There are numerous ways that traditional impressions get thrown off, not least of which including poor material mixing, improper tearaway, you (the patient) moving too much, or saliva creating an air bubble.
Digital impressions are far less finicky and get captured in the positive. This means that, when your dentist or orthodontist is constructing your appliance, they’re working off of a one-to-one model. This leads to, ultimately:
4. Better Fitting Dental Appliances
Working from a one-to-one model of your mouth means that your dental appliances will be much better suited to your mouth. This leads to better aesthetic results and greater comfort for you. Which leads to less hassle, paperwork, and revisions from your dentist.
Keep that in mind when finding the best Invisalign dentist, orthodontist, or other cosmetic dentistry offices near you!
5. Less Paper Required
Physical impressions mean analog paperwork. Analog paperwork means lots and lots of files that are easy to lose in the shuffle. Heaven forbid your dentist ever moves office and loses your impression records! Then they might have to retake the whole thing.
One of the other big advantages of digital impressions over physical is that offices can store them digitally. This cuts down on the space required for your records and improves recordkeeping efficiency. That’s especially helpful for offices trying to go green and reduce or eliminate their paper waste.
6. Eco-Friendly Impressions
Have you ever wondered what happens to your physical dental impressions once the data from them has been stored, or is no longer needed? They end up in a landfill, alongside the single-use plastic tray many offices use to hold the impression putty.
One of the most common dental impression materials is polyvinyl siloxane, also known as PVS or VPS. It’s an artificial silicone, which means the chances of it being sourced or breaking down naturally are slim to none.
Digital dental impressions, since their data gets stored electronically, don’t leave this kind of physical footprint in your local landfill. That brings peace of mind to any eco-friendly dentist or patient.
7. Looking Up-to-Date
Quick, tell me what you think when you go into a medical facility and see outdated or old-fashioned technology. Chances are, your impression was less than favorable.
Walking into a dental office is stressful enough without seeing that their tech hasn’t left the 20th century yet. We’re 2 decades into the 21st century, for goodness sake! Who even uses paper records or non-digital impressions anymore?
Using digital impressions helps keep the office looking up to date, which means for clinicians that patients will be more invested in their care. After all, it’s hard to stay invested if you feel like the office doesn’t care enough to stay abreast of the latest medical technology.
Let’s Review the Advantages of Digital Impressions
There are numerous advantages of digital impressions compared to physical ones. They’re more accurate and less time-consuming. They’re more comfortable and eco-friendly than traditional impressions.
Patients and clinicians both will enjoy seeing an up-to-date facility and dealing with less paperwork. If your local dentist’s office has yet to make the switch, ask them what they’re waiting for. The 21st century is waiting for them.
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